We are two seasoned professionals who believe boards must perform well in order to serve their owners and their organizations and not be a time and energy-draining impediment.
We have dedicated our careers to coaching board members to govern well while concurrently coaching staff for role clarity and accountability.
We believe that:
- Boards exist to represent their constituents’ needs and serve their interests. They have a role distinct from the role of staff;
- The use of a governance operating system increases exponentially the chance that the board can add value to the organization;
- Boards should govern, not manage, but doing so requires identification of shared values written into policy and implemented with discipline and integrity;
- There is a very direct and significant relationship between what happens in the boardroom and what happens throughout the organization.
We position the board to lead by creating systemic accountability extending from the board itself throughout the entire organization, all focused on outcomes.
Our approach: Coherent Governance®, our own governance design, built to position the board to lead the organization from the policy level through clear direction to the CEO with clear accountability for organizational success.
Linda J. Dawson, Senior Partner
Linda co-founded AGI: Aspen Group International LLC in 1993. Prior to establishing the company, Linda had built a solid national reputation as a speaker, trainer, coach and facilitator. She launched AGI following a 10-year executive-level stint with the Colorado Association of School Boards, where she directed all board training and development as well as developing custom services. Her work in that capacity became known and respected throughout the country, which led to her increasing demand for work in other states and internationally. Establishing her own company became the clear next step in her career path. Linda was selected and trained by Dr. John Carver in his Policy Governance® (PG) model, and used that model with clients for a number of years before creating AGI’s own necessary adaptation of it, Coherent Governance®.
Dr. Randy Quinn, Senior Partner
Randy Quinn served as Executive Director of the Colorado Association of School Boards for 11 years. Prior to accepting that position, he held a similar position for 19 years with the Alabama Association of School Boards. During that 30-year career serving school boards, Randy developed keen insight into the behaviors and attitudes that contribute to effective boards—and those that do not. More and more of his association focus turned to helping boards develop the skills and attitudes that contribute to their performance. For him, a broader national stage made sense, which led to his co-founding AGI: Aspen Group International LLC in 1993. Randy also was trained by Dr. John Carver in his Policy Governance® model, and later with Linda, built Coherent Governance®, their adaptation of it.
- 30 years in the fields of leadership development, change management, public relations/marketing, and training
- Highly regarded nationally and internationally as a talented facilitator, trainer, coach
- Former teacher, central office administrator, agency public relations executive and state association executive
- Served on and chaired multiple civic and professional boards
- Published numerous articles on leadership and governance
- Project Director, National School Boards Foundation: The Data Connection: Data Driven Decision Making for School Boards
- Intuitive insight
- Natural leadership strength
- Ability to analyze and synthesize complex issues and develop viable solutions
- Keen sensitivity to human needs in complicated work environments
- CEO of two highly successful and influential state school boards associations for 30 years
- Written more than 400 articles published in state and national publications
- Doctorate and masters degrees from The University of Alabama
- Former president of two state and national peer group organizations
- Skilled political analyst and lobbyist
- Visionary leadership, balanced with insights for practical application
- Astute political and people skills
- Ability to digest issues and craft elegant policy solutions
Bill Van Atta, Associate
Bill Van Atta worked within the consumer package goods industry for 33 years. He joined one of the industry’s top corporations at an entry level position and through the development of his personal skill base became one of the senior leaders holding various leadership positions to include general manager of the corporation’s South African subsidiary, assistant to the President and CEO and national sales manager. Throughout his tenure he was noted as an agent of change and a developer of talent helping the corporation grow in key areas. He was also a member of two boards of education. Prior to this experience, Bill was public school teacher in North Carolina and in Pennsylvania where he was also president of the local teachers’ association.
- 33 years working in the consumer package goods industry and known to:
- Deliver results
- Inspire others to reach their potential
- Drive organizational growth through change management
- Member of the American International School of Johannesburg Board of Education and the Racine Unified School District Board of Education
- RUSD’s Board of Education President
- Worked within the RUSD organization to institutionalize Coherent Governance®
- Public school music teacher in North Carolina and Pennsylvania where his high school marching bands won numerous awards
- Inspiring leadership
- Builder of strong relationships based on trust
- Ability to navigate complex political issues and develop workable solutions
Deborah Hendrix, Associate
Deborah Hendrix – Is an advocate for education. She is currently the Executive Director for Parents Challenge, an organization that advocates for parental choice in education.
Deborah served on the Harrison School District 2 Board for eight years before leaving office due to term limits in Colorado. She provided strong and insightful leadership to the board for six of those years as President. She was the genesis for the board pursuing and adopting Coherent Governance®.
Dedicated to her community and its children, Deborah has continued in her volunteer work to serve as President of the Colorado Early Colleges School Board. She is on the boards of Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado, the Boys and Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region and the Youth Transformation Center, a restorative justice organization.
Deborah is self-employed, running her own training and consulting business for the past 15 years. Her clients include:
- Colorado College
- Ft. Carson Workforce Development Division
- Boys and Girls Club
- The United States Olympic Committee
- Colorado Early Colleges
Vicki Hawarden, Affiliate
Vicki is the CEO for Excellence Squared, Inc., (North America) where she specializes in board development and governance. Vicki’s previous experience includes 25 years as an association executive with organizations such as the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, the National Park and Recreation Association, Meeting Professionals International, and concluding with her role as President and CEO of the International Association of Venue Managers and the IAVM Foundation. During her tenure at IAVM, Vicki worked with AGI Aspen Group to implement Coherent Governance® which provided her a deep experience of the process from a nonprofit CEO’s perspective. Vicki’s professional work is complemented by her experience of serving on many volunteer boards throughout her career.
- 25 years in nonprofit association management, with a reputation for integrity, honesty and delivering results
- Chaired and served on multiple professional boards
- Led the development of an international event standard
- Former journalist and writer