NACD Board Leadership Conference NACD Chapter System

Start-Ups to Exits: Board Challenges

March 14, 2018
McLean, VA



Starting a business and taking it all the way to a successful exit requires extraordinary effort by many people across multiple business phases and governance cycles.  A thoughtfully chosen and engaged board of directors is vital to success.  Very different board skills may be required as the company matures and navigates the challenges of different exit alternatives such as IPO or strategic sale. 

As Directors, how can we steward shareholder interests and be prepared for the opportunities and perils along the path to a successful exit?

On Wednesday, March 14th, we will explore this question through a highly interactive case study of Vocus, Inc.  Founded in Maryland in 1992, Vocus helped lead the transition of Public Relations from the static world into the online, real-time Internet presence of interacting with audiences and using social media as a prospective marketing and relationship management tool. We will explore their path from startup to a successful IPO in 2005 and to their merger with Cision in 2014.

Join us for a stimulating conversation with Vocus CEO (Rick Rudman) and Investor (Gary Golding – Edison Partners) who will share the story of the Vocus journey. They will tell us about how the company and its board mapped the course, the key decisions they had to make, the changes to business plans and board composition and the many lessons learned along the way.

Come prepared with your questions and be ready for a powerful and enlightening interactive session with the seasoned executives who made it happen! You can expect the following and more:


Takeaways, Tips, and Insights:


  1. Framing board skill requirements along the path - from startup to exit
  2. Anticipating the challenges at each stage of the growth cycle
  3. Planning and executing board transitions (roles and structures) while fueling growth
  4. Mapping the path to a future "exit plan" and preparing for its execution
  5. Understanding the "real board effort" and knowing the things you "must get right" 

Location and Time


1676 International Drive
9th Floor
McLean, VA 22102

5:30 pm - 6:00 pm: Networking, Cocktails and Delicious Cuisine

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Program

7:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Post-Program Networking

Speaker Spotlight


Rick Rudman

Rick Rudman is a seasoned technology CEO with a proven track record of success leading both public and private companies, with experience as an entrepreneur, public company CEO and board member.

Rick is currently Chairman and CEO of, a technology enabled home improvement company that helps cash strapped homeowners avoid selling "as is" and instead get fair price by fixing up their homes and deferring 100% of the cost until the home has sold.

From 2015 through 2017 Rick was Chairman and CEO of Tracx, a venture backed social media software company that helps some of the world’s largest companies harness the power of social media to build brands, attract customers and improve customer experience in the new social economy. Rick was recruited to Tracx and helped raise over $12m in funding while assembling a world class management team, moving technical operations from Israel to the U.S. and identifying and grooming a successor CEO.

From 1992 through 2014 Rick was Chairman and CEO of Vocus (NASDAQ:VOCS), a leading provider of marketing and PR software. Under Rick’s leadership, Vocus grew from $1M to over $180M, with over 1,500 employees in the US, Europe and Asia. Rick led the company through multiple rounds of venture financing, an IPO, several acquisitions, multiple new product line launches and 32 quarters as a public company. In 2014 Vocus was acquired for a 50% premium in an all cash transaction valued at half a billion dollars.

From 1986 through 1992 Rick was SVP of sales and marketing and COO for Dataway Corporation, a privately held software company that developed mission critical software for large companies and agencies including KPMG, Booz Allen and the U.S. Navy.

Before Dataway, Rick worked as a software engineer for the Barlow Corporation, originally joining as a staff accountant before teaching himself programming and transferring into the technology department.

Rick began his career in the United States Air Force, enlisting after high school. He served in the U.S. and in Germany, in a mobile close air combat support unit in support of NATO. During his four-year tour he received multiple medals and four promotions through the rank of Sergeant.

Rick has served on the board of directors for multiple public and private technology companies and was also Vice Chairman of the Board of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He is currently Chairman of and Tracx and a member of the board of Evergreen Advisors.

Rick received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from University of Maryland and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1990. Rick also attended the USAF Technical Training School and received certifications in electronics, satellite communications and computers. In 2003 Rick was selected as Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the software category for the Washington, D.C. region, and in 1999 was named the High Tech Council of Maryland’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

Gary Golding

General Partner Gary Golding is a member of Edison's 2.0 Industry Group. He focuses on investments in the communications and government information technology sectors.

Gary has been a venture capitalist for 32 years, and in that time, has served as a director of 30 companies. At Edison he has been a General Partner in Funds IV-VIII. In Fund IV he completed the rare IPO hat trick as a director with three portfolio companies (Liberty Tax Service, Vocus and Tangoe) going public and providing Edison a successful 10X+ exit. Recent exits (all to private equity firms) include VFA, Telarix and Fishbowl. Gary currently serves on the boards of PlumChoice, Motionsoft, Tracx, VoxMobile, All Traffic Solutions and Budderfly.

Before joining Edison in 1997, Gary co-founded the CEO Venture Fund, a firm launched in Pittsburgh by three successful technology entrepreneurs. Joining as an Associate in 1986, he became a General Partner in 1990. He served as a director of ACE*COMM which went public, providing a successful exit.

Gary has a BS, Management Science from Boston College and a MA, Urban and Regional Planning from University of Pittsburgh.

Moderator: Ron Kaiser

Ron Kaiser has over 35 years of experience in public and private finance, accounting and operations management and has served as CFO or CEO for companies in information technology, life sciences and high tech manufacturing. Since 1981, he has served as CFO during six Initial Public Offerings which raised over $400 million on initial valuations totaling over $2.7 Billion and as an executive officer or director during the development of 15+ Companies, including Acquisitions and Sales of 13 companies for amounts totaling $2.8 Billion.

He has served as a board member, audit committee chair and other committee member for OPNET Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ; OPNT) from 2003 through it’s sale to Riverbed in 2012; for Vocus Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:VOCS) from 2005 through its sale to GTCR in 2014; and, since 2008, for Tangoe, Inc. (NASADQ: TNGO). He also has served as a Board and Committee member for The NEAT COMPANY and for Acetylon Pharmaceuticals, private companies in software and drug discovery, respectively.

Ron served as a managing director of the Chesapeake Innovation Center (a Maryland incubator/accelerator serving Homeland and National Security) and as a Board member of the Annapolis Area Christian School, a K-12 private school in his home town of Annapolis, MD. He currently serves as Chairman of the Capital Area Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).

Ron has been an instructor and seminar speaker (in over fifty professional society programs on internal control, C.O.S.O., operations, and IT security), a coach for the NVTC FastTrac program, and a regional and national panelist on IPO processes and public reporting. Ron was named in the January/February 1999 issue of Tech Capital magazine as one of one of the East Coast’s Top Ten CFOs and nominated three times as a MidAtlantic "CFO of the Year" (OTG Software and Trusted Information Systems), receiving the "Community Service" award in 2001. In 2014, He awarded the "Hall of Fame Award" by the NVTC and Regional Technology Counsels and in 2017, he was recognized by the greater Washington Association of CPA’s for his efforts in diversity expansion as a " Men Empowering Women" award nominee.

He is a Michigan native, holds degrees in Accounting and Social Science (Michigan State – 1977) and has lived with his wife Teresa in the Annapolis, Maryland area since 1995. Both Ron and Terre are active in their local church and involved in several local and international education related ministries.



Question about this Event?

Contact NACD Capital Area Chapter 2800 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite 210, Alexandria, VA, 22314 phone: 703-683-4035 email: