The second podcast of Venture Connect online with partners Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati provided some educational content on building and managing your board of directors. Megan Baier of WSGR interviewed Paul Garofolo of Locus Biosciences
This is a great listen if you are a first time CEO. Paul is talking openly about a “misfire” he had early on in the Locus journey. Paul’s background was in large corporations and large pharma. When he first assembled a board, he thought (mistakenly) that attracting a larger number of senior leaders he had made business relationships over the years with would make the best board. Turns out he was wrong. With the help of his lead investors he corrected the mistake and now the Locus Board is just 3 people .
Paul talks about his formal cadence of board meetings as well as his less- formal ways he keeps his board informed and the benefits of doing so (hint, if you need to fast decision by the board and they are always up-to-speed, that process can go quickly)
While the official board may be small, the board meetings are not, Locus has several board observers and estimates 90-95% of the broad meeting is open sessions with Locus’ leadership team doing most of the talking. Paul also encourages his team to have direct contact with the observers and advisors that relate to each functional area. “ I want them to have the exposure to the board they need to be successful in their careers, and I also want them to feel the board heat”
Megan and Paul then go into a discussion of COVID19 and what if anything that did to Locus (spoiler alert: Locus has been deemed an essential business and is developing new treatments for infectious diseases) which gets back to working with the board during crisis management issues.
Lastly Paul talks about what he wants from his board
This is a great listen for any first time CEO who is trying to figure out how to build an effective board, how to managements the board she/he has.