Tag Archives: Martha Summmerville

Mindful governance for boards of directors, trustees

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

The Mindful Board: Mastering the Art of Conscious Governance by Charlotte Roberts & Martha Summerville is just out.

It will take anyone involved in making decisions for a group or a system onto new ground. Good book. More here later.

Available at fine bookstores from one end of the World Wide Web to the other.

Roberts and Summerville are high-powered Guilford College trustees.


The discipline of listening

Three baby scops owls

“To see the way forward you have to listen deeply. You have to listen to people you don’t want to hear from, and you have to hear what you don’t want to know.”

Jane Fernandes, President of Guilford College.

“The discipline of listening deeply — which is central to the disciplines of self-awareness, reflection, trustworthiness, expanded consciousness, fearless engagement and leadership — is so crucial to transformation.”

Charlotte Roberts & Martha Summerville, Guilford College trustees and authors of the recent article at strategy + business, “The Mindful Board” as well as a forthcoming book of the same name.

The people who know how to listen are the ones most worth listening to.

Equality & excellence; conflict & creativity @ Guilford College

Guilford College Art Gallery

Guilford College Art Gallery

Connecticut-based governing-board consultant and author, Dr. Martha Summerville, observes that tension between values stimulates creativity. She is commenting on an earlier post here questioning how Guilford College can hold both excellence and equality at the same time as fundamental values. Is this tension (between excellence and equality) and the resulting creativity, at the heart of what sets Guilford College apart?

Martha is a Guilford graduate and trustee. Tensions like this, she says, can stimulate creativity, but they can also generate conflict. This puts me in mind of long time Guilford trustee Martin Eakes’ frequent comment that, in group deliberations, creativity is the product of conflict. Martin loves to see conflict in board deliberations.

Guilford College and its board have some of all that. Simultaneous commitments to equality and to excellence are at the center of it. And I believe that the source is in the essential Quaker insights there is that of God in every person; and revelation is continuing.

How much tension is that?