Strategic Advisors Advancing Culture and Education


A case study in governance

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Developing the “next generation” of volunteer leaders.


In 2016 the BSO engaged KW to help formulate a concrete plan for engaging the next generation of governance leaders and volunteers whose continued time, expertise, and passion would be essential to sustaining the BSO’s excellence in the future. This project was one of several initiatives at the BSO following the appointment of Andris Nelsons as music director in 2014.

Working directly with an ad hoc board committee, KW facilitated a process for the BSO to consider the criteria, roles, and possible structures that would allow it to identify, attract, and engage an emerging generation of volunteer leaders.

KW conducted background interviews with a cross-section of governance leaders, relevant committee chairs, prospective next generation board leaders, and key BSO staff. KW also surveyed industry perspectives by interviewing leading performing arts organizations nationally who were innovating in the area of next generation engagement. Over a series of intensive working sessions, the ad hoc committee developed a draft framework and supporting strategies which were presented to and approved by the BSO Trustees in early 2017.


A case study in governance

Boston Medical Center

Assessing a new governance structure.


The not-for-profit, 496-bed Boston Medical Center (BMC) is the primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine. The region’s largest safety net hospital, it is also the busiest trauma and emergency services center in New England.

In 2013, BMC adopted a new plan for hospital governance including a system board to oversee the medical center and related entities, a health plan board to oversee insurance services, and a hospital board to oversee the hospital itself.

After this structure was in place for one year, the BMC Nominating Committee wanted to assess the effectiveness of the structure and also plan for future changes, including responding to planned leadership succession within the new framework. BMC engaged KW to complete a qualitative assessment of the new structure. Over a period of six months beginning in July 2014, KW interviewed 30+ governance members, including all members of the BMC system board and hospital executive leadership. KW also reviewed quantitative data and the results of an online governance survey.

KW presented findings to the Nominating Committee in a briefing that addressed governance roles, engagement of members, governance practices and processes, and recommendations for improvement.