Welcome to Centerboard Governance

Consultants and Practitioners in Policy Governance since 1997  

About Us

Larry Hermen, Consultant

  • Larry served as Executive Director for 20 years in two county mental health organizations in Southwest Michigan, where a board member introduced him to John Carver’s first book on Policy Governance in 1992. The board attempted to gain the features of the model without assistance from a consultant. In 1996 he was among six consultants who were trained by John and Miriam Carver in a two-year project in Battle Creek Michigan, underwritten by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The training was an early edition of the “Governance Academy”. 
  • In 1997 he formed Centerboard Associates, a consulting firm that specialized in Policy Governance implementation and the provision of project teams for strategic planning, grant writing, marketing, web design, and fund development planning.  He is also skilled in organizational assessment, organizational restructuring, and strategic planning facilitation.   
  • Mr. Hermen is a graduate of the Policy Governance® Academy (2001). In 2002 he launched and directed the Policy Governance Network in Southwest Michigan, a non-profit providing support for the more than one dozen boards actively practicing the model. Mr. Hermen was a presenter for the early annual IPGA conferences in 2001, 2002, 2003.  He coordinated a 10-year celebration of model practice in Kalamazoo Michigan in 2005 with the involvement of John Carver as speaker. Four boards sponsored the event in addition to a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.    
  •  As a former hospital trustee and Chairperson of the Board at Three Rivers Health, governance has been a familiar challenge and provides Larry with a unique board member perspective for large healthcare organizations.  Three Rivers Health began its practice of Policy Governance in 2000.  He currently serves on the LifeCare Ambulance board in Battle Creek, which has been practicing Policy Governance since 1998.   
  • Mr. Hermen has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Psychology from Western Michigan University.     

About Centerboard

Centerboard Associates was founded by Larry Hermen in 1996 as a firm providing guidance and direction to non-profits and community organizations in Michigan.  Centerboard Governance represents one of the specialities that was developed in response to boards looking for a practical model of governing.This concentration developed as a natural quest by the owner, Larry Hermen, to meet the needs of boards and CEOs to clarify their roles while enhancing the real job of boards to create accountable governance.


Mr. Hermen's experience both as a CEO in community mental health organizations, and in board leadership positions in healthcare, continues to drive this focus.


Other specialty areas developed by Centerboard Associates include: strategic planning, consolidation and merger facilitation, and management consultation. 

Our mission: Accountable Governance

The practice of Policy Governance by non-profit and community boards throughout the world continues to be the single most respected model for organizations seeking  excellence and accountability.  CEOs who work for board that practice Policy Governance value its straightforward design and enabling culture in a board relationship.

 

For 20 years Larry Hermen has introduced this approach, facilitated its careful implementation, and coached the ongoing practice for dozens of boards of all sizes and structures.  He is a graduate of the Policy Governance Academy (2001) and currently serves on the Lifecare Ambulance (Battle Creek, MI) board of directors.



Policy Governance Consulting

Why Engaging a Consultant Will Fast Track the Practice

Boards that have engaged Larry for model implementation receive a complete array of supporting services. This begins with board education on the principles of the model with examples, facilitation and modeling of policy creation skills during the “Policy Blitz Writing” session, and on-site or online coaching for the first four board meetings to support behavior change. Larry is then available at no cost for phone consultation to CEOs and Chairpersons for the following 12-months.    


Processes and Consulting Options:  · 

  • Electronic and “Go-to Meeting” conference calls and education sessions ·
  • Face-to-Face and phone consulting for CEOs and Board Chairpersons  
  • Policy Governance trainings on model introduction, 
  • Ends development, Monitoring, and Linkage to the Ownership features of Policy Governance · 
  • Board “Tune-Up” Sessions for assessment and assurance of model consistency · 
  • Bylaws review and recommendation for alignment with new policies · 
  • Development of Advisory Councils for ongoing Linkage connections  

Who Practices Policy Governance?

Schools, healthcare organizations, faith-based organizations, YMCAs, national associations, and even small non-profits with a single employee.


Recent engagements include model implementation and coaching for the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP Washington D.C.), Community Action (Battle Creek, MI), and Child and Family Services of Southwest Michigan (Benton Harbor, MI). The NARP engagement was uniquely complex due to their representative structure that has a 120-member Council of Members electing a 14- member board of directors. Significant work prepared the board to plan for ongoing Linkage activities to assure improved communications, connections, and transparency.  


Call for a complete list with references.

For More Information

If your board is curious about the advantages possible with the practice of Policy Governance, contact Larry Hermen at 269.273.6308.


Policy Governance is a Service Mark of John Carver.

What Others Are Saying..

The Board Chair

Steve Frisbie..Chair, Community Action Board (Battle Creek)


The Community Action Board was cruising along acting as a typical board of directors. We were fed information about finance, operations, and planning much like any other non-profit board. It was thought that the organization was on stable ground and meeting their goals of providing early childhood education and work in supporting low-income families.  One event turned that situation upside down. 


The then CEO had acted in a situation without board notification and the Board Chair took exception. The Chair convened the executive committee and they went into a mode of review/investigation/fact finding which eventually led to a vote, which passed 7-6, to terminate the employment of the CEO. 


The process was not pleasant and lacked clarity. Eventually, the terminated CEO won a substantial award in a lawsuit settled out of court.  That event led to board discussion about governance. 


We formed a committee and discussed options of various forms of governance. We debated what we expected from ourselves, our CEO, and the organization. I offered multiple examples of Policy Governance and how that style may fit Community Action. We all agreed that the need to clearly define and separate roles and responsibilities was of the greatest importance.  We looked for guidance on learning policy governance. 


Larry Herman stepped in as a consultant and the board held a workshop to seek more information on how policy governance worked. Larry made it easy to understand and better yet, helped us understand how that style met all of our desired outcomes of roles, responsibilities, and organizational performance. What seemed confusing for a beginner was made clear. 


 The CA Board then voted to hire Larry to help us implement policy governance. His background was invaluable. He completed more training to fully explain the difference between monitoring, Governance Policies, Ends, and Executive Limitations policies. He then worked with the CEO and Governance Committee to provide a framework of policies from which to begin our launch. 


Larry then conducted full board sessions dedicated to polishing and rewording those beginning policies to fit everyone’s expectations.  We then fully implemented the Policy Governance model over the course of seven months. Larry also participated in several board meetings and provided coaching and mentoring to me as the Board Chair and the CEO on how to construct agendas and monitoring reports, and how to keep everyone on board with the Policy Governance style.  


The implementation and transition to Policy Governance would have been nearly impossible without Larry Herman’s expertise, insight, information, education, and wise advice. His ability to help a Board and administration to see a “big picture” is outstanding.

The CEO

Steve Springsdorf CEO

YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo


Larry assisted our Board of Directors in establishing the Policy Governance system. Larry was well prepared for meetings, had relevent information and, in a timely manner, helped us achieve our goals. He is personable, articulate, and sensitive to the needs of the group. I would recommend Larry as a consultant to assist non-profits with thier governance needs.

The Community

Joanna Dales  V.P.

Donor Relations, Kalamazoo Community Foundation


I serve on the board of the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo and we hired Larry last year to help us implement the Policy Governance model. Larry was so easy to work with and helped our board understand the model and put it into action. His down-to-earth manner made our transition very smooth.

Contact Us

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Larry Hermen, Centerboard Governance

56809 Buckhorn Rd, Three Rivers, MI 49093

(269) 273-6308

Hours