NACD - National Association of Corporate Directors

The Gold Standard Director Credential®


Recognizing that boards are facing unprecedented disruptions, a proliferation of information, and increasing expectations, NACD Fellowship® helps directors navigate this dynamic environment with a continuous-improvement plan.

Built for and by directors, NACD Fellowship provides a director-education roadmap for continuous learning and translates that knowledge into a distinguished credential—recognized by investors, regulators, and the director community.

NACD Fellows, who earn The Gold Standard Director Credential® year after year, head into the boardroom armed with the latest insights, intelligence, and leading boardroom practices. 

"We need directors who can clearly demonstrate their value on proxy disclosures. NACD's director credentials are the gold standard."

-Anne Sheehan, Director of Corporate Governance, CalSTRS

"At a minimum, individuals serving as independent chairs and/or lead directors should earn NACD Fellowship status to bolster confidence in their leadership, both inside and outside the boardroom." 

-Patrick McGurn, Special Counsel and Head of Strategic Research and Analysis, Institutional Shareholder Services



How could you benefit from earning NACD Fellowship—The Gold Standard Director Credential®?

Stay Ahead
Ensure that you are staying ahead of emerging issues; asking the right questions; and protecting your reputation and your stakeholders' long-term value.

Continue to build your network and outside perspectives by joining today's cohort of distinguished NACD Fellows—representing thousands of the world’s largest and most-diverse organizations.

Be Recognized
Show your stakeholders that you are committed to the highest standard of continuous learning in proxy statements and when seeking board and committee seats.

Complement your NACD membership with these added benefits:

  • Sample proxy statement language
  • An official certificate of NACD Fellowship
  • Complimentary access to the NACD research library
  • Invitations to Fellow-only programming and networking opportunities
  • Advance preview of proprietary NACD research and insights
  • A listing in NACD’s quarterly press release
  • A customizable press release template for personal or company use
  • An NACD Fellowship transcript to share with your board
  • A digital NACD Fellow signature badge
  • Ongoing recognition at NACD events across the nation
  • Announcement of your NACD Fellowship distinction to your stakeholders—including investors, proxy advisors, C-suite, and director peers


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Become an NACD Fellow

Directors and C-level executives aspiring to elevate their boardroom effectiveness are invited to stand within the highest echelon of governance professionals as NACD Fellows.

To suit different levels of boardroom expertise, NACD offers two pathways to earn a Fellowship credential. Embark on the Fellowship path that best suits your current level of boardroom expertise:

Governance Fellowship Logo Board Leadership Fellowship Logo

NACD Governance Fellowship

Recommended for new directors and
aspiring public company directors.         

NACD Board Leadership Fellowship

Recommended for experienced and rising
board leaders.

Both Fellowship pathways begin with an NACD Foundation Course.
Directors build on this foundation and maintain their credential by earning credits through NACD’s wide variety of director education programs each year.
Begin your Fellowship path by attending an NACD Foundation Course.


NACD Director Professionalism®

Provides the essentials all directors need to focus on long-term value creation in today's constantly evolving business environment.


NACD Advanced Director Professionalism®

Equips experienced directors with the competencies and skills required for effective committee and board leadership.


NACD Master Class

Fosters thought-provoking analysis and mastery of today's board leadership strategies among seasoned directors.                             

Build on your foundation by earning NACD Fellowship Credits within one year.
Earn 4 Fellowship Credits. These credits can be any combination of Skill and/or Collaborative Credits*. Earn 6 Skill and 4 Collaborative Fellowship Credits*.                                                                             
Maintain your credential by earning NACD Fellowship Credits year after year.
Earn 4 Fellowship Credits. These credits can be any combination of Skill and/or Collaborative Credits*. Earn 6 Skill and 4 Collaborative Fellowship Credits*.                                                                            


*Skill Credits are earned through NACD programs that heighten expertise, teach a new skill, and improve productivity in the boardroom, such as monthly webinars and NACD’s annual Summit.

*Collaborative Credits are earned through NACD programs that inform with outside perspectives, are more interactive, and provide outstanding networking, including local Chapter events and national peer exchanges.


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Current NACD Fellows

Today's growing cohort of distinguished NACD Fellows represents the combined knowledge capital of thousands of the world’s largest and most-diverse corporations: 

AARP Inc. Lockheed Martin Corp.
Ace Hardware Corp. Make-A-Wish Foundation
AK Steel Holding Corp. ManpowerGroup Inc.
Alaska Air Group Inc. Martin Marietta Materials Inc.
AmerisourceBergen Corp. Masco Corp.
Angie's List Inc. McDonald's Corp.
Archer Daniels Midland Co. MDU Resources Group Inc.
Baker Hughes Inc. Mohawk Industries Inc.
Bank of America Corp. MRC Global Inc.
Big Lots Inc. Murphy USA Inc.
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. Nationwide
CACI International Inc. Nordstrom Inc.
Calpine Corp. Norfolk Southern Corp.
Campbell Soup Co. Nu Skin Enterprises Inc.
Capital One Financial Corp. Perdue Farms
Carpenter Technology Corp. Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.
CenturyLink Inc. PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
CHS Inc. PPG Industries Inc.
Cigna Corp. Simon Property Group Inc.
Cintas Corp. Society for Human Resource Management
Crane Co. SpartanNash Co.
Cubic Corp. SunPower Corp.
Darden Restaurants Inc. Torchmark Corp.
Delta Air Lines Inc. T. Rowe Price Mutual Funds
Dresser-Rand Group Inc. The Home Depot Inc.
DuPont The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.
Eli Lilly and Co. Trinity Industries Inc.
Fastenal Co. Triple-S Management Corp.
Ferrellgas Partners Finance Corp. True Value Co. 
First Solar Inc. UnitedHealth Group Inc.
Foot Locker Inc. UNUM Group
General Mills Inc. USAA
Great Plains Energy Inc. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Johnson Controls Inc. Wolverine World Wide Inc.
Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc.  Partial Listing  

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What NACD Fellows Say

“NACD Fellowship keeps me abreast of the ongoing evolution of governance, and the impact of outside forces such as new regulations, market changes, or disruptive technologies.”

-Mary Beth Vitale, Director, Chair of Governance and Nominating Committee, CoBiz Financial; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“As an active NACD Fellow, I have confidence knowing I am staying current. I am supported by a well-respected credential and the best director education possible.”

-Dona Young, Director, Foot Locker, Aegon; Member, Board of Trustees, Save the Children USA, Save the Children International; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“Business is constantly changing, and the buck stops at the board. The board needs to be one step ahead, to think long term, to be able to mentor management. I wanted to be sure [that] I was ready to serve and contribute and be an effective directorand [that] I was on top of my game. NACD Fellowship provided me with continuous learning programs over the last two years that have really brought me to where I am today.”

-Sheila Hooda, Founder, President, and CEO, Alpha Advisory Partners; director, Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co., Pratham New York Tri-State; advisory board member, Demand Institute; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“I wanted to prepare for moving from the nonprofit to the public space. The Fellowship dramatically improved my understanding of today’s top board issues and gave me the comfort to step into a public board leadership role. Exposure to everyday challenges and real-life solutions helps strengthen the evolving role of the director and the principles of director accountability.”

-Thaddeus Arroyo, Chief Information Officer, AT&T; Director, Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), Hispanic IT Executive Council, National Center for Women & Information Technology; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“It (NACD Fellowship) is the best way to expand your knowledge of governance trends. The information I glean from speakers and participants in both formal and informal conversation is extremely helpful in board and committee meetings.”

-Paula Ann Sneed, Chair and CEO, Phelps Prescott Group; Director, TE Connectivity, Charles Schwab Corp., Airgas Inc.; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“The Fellowship program is consistent with my belief in the importance of continuous learning. Learning from thought leaders and my peers results in ideas I can apply in the boardroom. On each of the boards I have served, I have held leadership positions, including board chair and chair of a variety of board committees including audit, finance, governance, and executive committees. Learning about new perspectives on relevant issues provides the confidence that we are addressing the right issues.”

-Darrell R. Tukua, Director, Allina Health System, Capella Education Co., Constellation Inc., Ecumen, Gate City Bank; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“Continuing education is extremely important for all board members. You can’t be as effective in any endeavor unless you keep up your skill sets, because things are changing too quickly.”

-Jeannine Strandjord, Director, Euronet Worldwide, MGP Ingredients, American Century Mutual Funds, J.E. Dunn Construction, the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“I was a fairly experienced director before I went into the program and I wasn’t sure I would find real value. However, I was wrong. I encourage anyone who wants to be at the top of their game as a director to pursue the NACD Board Leadership Fellowship Program. The world of directors is constantly evolving, so it is important to continue learning and exposing yourself to new ideas and resources, which includes networking with other directors. This is important because when I encounter something I haven’t had to deal with before, I have some context, resources, and a network to draw on. This program has been very valuable to me.”

-Renée J. Hornbaker, CFO, Stream Gas & Electric; Director, Eastman Chemical Co., Freeman, Tri Global Energy; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“Earning the Board Leadership Fellow director credential gave me a sound background and helped me upgrade my performance in the boardroom. It was a demonstration that I was committed to being the best director I could possibly be.”

-Wendy Watson, Director, Citizens Financial Group, Independent Order of the Foresters, CMA Holdings Canada, DAS Canada Insurance Co.; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“I’ve learned things I would not have known otherwise: how to approach cybersecurity or how to address certain issues of Dodd-Frank, or what to do when an activist shareholder or various other entities come out with a negative comment about something that you’re doing as a board.”

-Richard Goeglein, director, Evening Star Holdings, Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, Pinnacle Entertainment, The Board of Veteran CEOs; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“NACD Fellowship allows me to remain on the cutting edge, set a standard, and clearly illustrate my ongoing commitment to investor interests.”

-The Honorable Carlos C. Campbell, Director, PICO Holdings, Resource America; president, Global 21, Initiative Films; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

“I'm amazed by and continually learning from the enormous amount of expertise within the community of NACD Fellows.”

-Martin M. Coyne II, Director, Akamai Technologies, RockTech; President, NACD New Jersey Chapter ; NACD Board Leadership Fellow

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Learn More

For more information, or a comprehensive discussion on NACD Fellowship®, please contact:


NACD Fellowship® is exclusive to NACD members. Learn more about the benefits of NACD membership.