Corporate Secretary

Governance during Covid-19
– and where it goes next

Thursday, May 14, 2020

An interactive event from Corporate Secretary: Live from 11am EDT to 3pm EDT and available for replay

About the event

The impact of Covid-19 on people’s personal and professional lives has been profound, with uncertainty and market volatility having an impact on public companies and their shareholders. The role of the corporate secretary and general counsel in this crisis is amplified, as boards seek support and guidance while they navigate unprecedented challenges.

Corporate Secretary, as a key stakeholder in the governance community, hosted a first-of-its-kind virtual conference offering professionals valuable insights and best practices for handling key aspects of governance during this crisis. The event was delivered virtually, with fully interactive live panel debates, 1-1 meetings, resource libraries and more.


Click on each session below for more details or view agenda as a PDF here. The times mentioned below are in EDT. All sessions will be available for replay.

  • 11:00 AM
    Opening remarks: Welcome to the virtual event

    Ben Maiden, editor-at-large, Corporate Secretary

  • 11:15 AM
    What is the role of your board during – and beyond – Covid-19?

    In this session our panel of experts will discuss what your board should be doing now, how it should be helping the company prepare for the lifting of lockdown orders – and how it can start planning for long-term risks and opportunities that may arise because of the pandemic.

    Topics for discussions will include:

    • Given the Covid-19 pandemic, what are some of the key operational roles the board should be playing now as companies progress through the proxy season and into the immediate post-proxy season period?
    • In terms of corporate responses to the pandemic, how can the board ensure the company does not suffer reputational damage or create legal liabilities? What can boards do to promote good responses?
    • What are some of the best practices for holding virtual board meetings? What should corporate secretaries and general counsel be aware of?
    • What should boards be doing to prepare for a return to ‘normal’ operations following the end of lockdowns? And how can corporate secretaries and general counsel help?
    • How should boards be approaching long-term considerations of risks and strategic opportunities going forward in a ‘post-pandemic’ world? How can corporate secretaries and general counsel help boards approach this?

    Ben Maiden, editor-at-large, Corporate Secretary (Moderator)
    Eileen Kamerick, board member, Associated Banc-Corp., Legg Mason Closed-End Mutual Funds, Hochschild Mining, plc, and AIG Funds
    Catherine Kilbane, retired SVP, Secretary & General Counsel at The Sherwin-Williams Company and lead director, The Andersons
    Dottie Schindlinger, executive director, Diligent Institute and co-host of The Corporate Director Podcast

  • 12:15 PM
    The importance of ESG in the pandemic and what it teaches boards

    Investors report that they are continuing to pursue ESG issues during the pandemic, with human capital management being a particular focus. They suggest that, if anything, the crisis highlights the importance ESG-related concepts such as long-term planning and stakeholder value.

    Topics for discussion will include:

    • How should governance teams approach shareholder engagement on ESG issues during Covid-19?
    • What are the key human capital management issues companies should be focusing on right now?
    • What lessons can boards and governance teams learn from the pandemic about the need for an ESG focus going forward?

    Ben Maiden, editor-at-large, Corporate Secretary (Moderator)
    Melanie Adams, VP and head of corporate governance and responsible investment, RBC Global Asset Management
    Amanda Cimaglia, managing director, ESG, Solebury Trout
    Matt Geekie, SVP, secretary and general counsel, Graybar Electric Company
    Kaley Childs Karaffa, director of board engagement, Nasdaq

  • 13:15 PM
    Virtual AGMs: Getting it right first time, and what it means for the 2021 proxy season

    Health and safety concerns arising from the coronavirus have led to hundreds more US companies holding virtual AGMs this proxy season. It is important to handle a range of operational, technological and governance issues correctly even if it is your first time using the format, and the experience of doing so may affect whether companies go back to in-person meetings next year.

    Topics for discussion will include:

    • What are best practices when preparing to host your first virtual AGM?
    • What have proved to be some of the most effective ways of allowing investors to participate fully in virtual AGMs?
    • What has been the response of investors to those companies using virtual formats for the first time?
    • What can we expect to see next year from companies that were new adopters of virtual AGMs this year?

    Ben Maiden, editor-at-large, Corporate Secretary (Moderator)
    Jericah Cummings, managing attorney – governance and risk, Paycom
    Sherry Moreland, president and chief operating officer, Mediant
    Michael Reilly, executive VP, general counsel, chief compliance office and secretary, FMC Corporation
    Rory Ross, global head of strategic legal matters and assistant corporate secretary, HP

  • 14:15 PM
    Closing keynote: Life goes on; acquisition of assets during a global pandemic

    Josh Lawler, partner, Zuber Lawler & Del Duca

  • 14:30 PM
    Networking with attendees

  • 15:00 PM
    End of event

Key Speakers

Click on each speaker to view their biographies

Our partners

Partners resource library

Click on the buttons below to access the resource library for each of our event partners.


Diligent    Mediant    Nasdaq

CT    Innisfree    Zuber Lawler

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