Educating a new generation of board leaders

The Boarding School equips young people with the knowledge and tools to leverage their lived and professional experiences in any boardroom.

Our educational resources are available to anyone – whether you are a current, former, or aspiring young board member, or part of an organization including young perspectives into its governance. The Boarding School’s trainings and written materials fall broadly under the following categories.

Board Governance

How can young people guide the strategic direction of their organizations?

Fiduciary Duty

Knowledge for guiding sustainable and mission-aligned financial practices.


From public speaking, to persuasive argumentation, team management and coalition-building.

Let’s Start Learning


The Boarding School will not run in-house educational events for the foreseeable future. If you would be interested in partnering with us to share board-related educational resources with young people, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Breaking into the Boys Clubs: Gender & Youth in the Boardroom

Women make up only about 30% of higher education boards of trustees and there is little to no scholarship on percentages of trans and nonbinary trustees. How do young board members with minoritized gender identities experience and contribute to male-dominated boardrooms? How do they understand their role in advancing gender equity at their institution, if at all?

The Boarding School brought together Maryland State Senator and former University System of Maryland student regent Sarah Elfreth, former University of California student regents Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton and Cinthia Flores for a conversation on the intersection of gender and youth in higher education boardrooms.


Dr. Jon Lozano & Dick Cass on the Roots of Young Trustee Roles

Before the 1970s, it was rare for students – or any young person, at that – to sit on college and university boards of directors. Now, 71% of public colleges and universities have at least one student seat on their boards of trustees. Why, then, do only 23% of private institutions have such seats?

We sat down with Dr. Jon Lozano, an expert on higher education governance, student trustees, and board advocacy, and Dick Cass, Princeton University’s first Young Alumni Trustee (one of the nation’s first Young Trustee positions, established in 1968), to understand the history of student trusteeship and its parallels with the student movements that demanded such positions.


In the Room Where it Happens: Highlighting Young Trustees of Color

Young trustees face an already-challenging task: bringing their lived experiences to the decision-making table each time, and – particularly for student trustees – communicating around those decisions to peers. In predominantly white boardrooms, the salience of nonwhite identities can make these tasks all the more difficult, especially when tackling racial injustice.

In the first part of our series, “The Boardroom as a White-Majority Space: Insights for Aspiring Young Trustees of Color,” we sit down with three former Princeton, Wake Forest, and University of Maryland System student and young alumni trustees of color. Join us as they share their experiences from the room where it happens and valuable lessons learned.

Blog Post Forthcoming

A Steeper Hill to Climb: Dr. Raquel Rall on Student Trustee of Color (In)Visibility

Scholarship on young board members is few and far between. Even fewer academics seek to understand the value and experiences of young trustees of color.

In the second part of our series, “The Boardroom as a White-Majority Space: Insights for Aspiring Young Trustees of Color,” we hear from Dr. Raquel M. Rall, a higher education governance expert focused on underrepresented and underserved student groups, on high-level trends of tokenism affecting student trustees of color.

Blog Post Forthcoming

An Outsider’s Inside Perspective: Crafting a Board’s Racial Justice Agenda

Board diversity disparities are often felt strongest when deep injustice is broadcasted nationwide. What happens when our boards lack the lived and professional experiences to meet the moment?

In the third part of our series, “The Boardroom as a White-Majority Space: Insights for Aspiring Young Trustees of Color,” Riley Jones IV, President of Columbia University’s Black Alumni Council and outside consultant to Columbia’s board, leads us through skills to establishing oneself as a necessary stakeholder, building relationships with trustees, and crafting a racial justice agenda. The best part: you don’t need to be a board member yet to start.

Blog Post Forthcoming

Young Athletes & USA Swimming’s 2018 Governance Restructure

The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act requires that amateur athletes must hold 20 percent of the voting power on boards of directors in national sports governing bodies. Team USA’s 554 athletes were an average of 26 years old in 2016. 

USA Swimming – whose average athlete member was just 12 years old in 2019 – made substantive changes to its Board of Directors’ structure and focus in 2018.

We sit down with Van Donkersgoed, a young athlete member of USA Swimming’s Board of Directors at the time, and Michael Gibbons, an attorney and member of USA Swimming’s Board Governance Task Force and National Governance Committee at the time, to discuss the role of young athletes in USA Swimming’s governance restructure and on sports organization governing boards at large.

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Across the Board: How Young People Lead on Climate

60% of U.S. colleges and universities that have fully divested from fossil fuels or are fossil free have Board of Trustees seats reserved for students or recent alumni. As institutions seek to align their investments with their educational missions, young people with a seat at the table can add valuable perspectives, especially on decisions that will impact future generations.

We sat down with former student trustees and Committee on Investor Responsibility members, in addition to the Intentional Endowments Network, to speak on participating in their universities’ climate-related investment decisions, and coalition-building as young people in the boardroom.

This forum was for college and university students, alumni, investment professionals, trustees and senior administrators to engage in collaborative dialogue around strategies and best practices for meaningfully involving young people in board investment decision-making.

Blog Post

From the Courtroom to the Boardroom

How might young attorneys think about joining and contributing to a board?

Our Executive Director spoke with members of Howard Law Student Bar Association and Epsilon Sigma Iota Sorority, Inc. on the combined value a young perspective and legal background can add to any boardroom, as part of their event, “From the Courtroom to the Boardroom.”


Higher Education Young Trustee Crash Course

It’s first educational training, The Boarding School hosted Crash Course for young college and university trustees in August 2020: a half-day workshop series bringing together leaders from the Intentional Endowments Network, a former chair of the Harvard Board of Overseers, and a Princeton Young Alumni Trustee. 

Harvard and Yale Forward candidates heard from each to identify the basic structure and function of university board governance, best practices for ensuring sustainable and mission-aligned investments, and lessons learned from a pioneering system for reserving young trustee seats at a leading university.

Blog Post


The Boarding School identifies and recruits young people who are strong candidates to positively contribute to the decision making processes of organizations that affect their lives and equips them with the skills and information to communicate their perspectives effectively.

Any young person who shows significant interest in learning about institutional boards or who serves or has served on a board themselves is eligible to apply for any of TBS’ educational programs. 

There is no age minimum or maximum for participation in TBS’ educational programs, but any program applicant must demonstrate how their perspective as a young person is fundamentally different and missing from the organizational board on which they serve, served, or hope to serve.

TBS has no educational degree requirements for participation in its educational programs.

We want our fellows to develop leadership skills that will serve them both in the boardroom and beyond. As TBS works to develop a standardized curriculum and workshop options, we currently offer training on an ad hoc basis, falling broadly into four categories: 

  1. General education about corporate governance and the function of boards of directors and similar bodies, as well as training in procedural functions,
  2. Sustainable, ethical, and mission-aligned financial oversight,
  3. Role and experience of young trustees, and
  4. Soft skills development, including public speaking, persuasive argumentation, and coalition building. 

The benefit of ad hoc training sessions is that we can focus on providing information that is specific and relevant to the organizational boards our fellows hope to join. Prospective candidates and members of our network may also request specific training sessions to address topics of their interest.

Like our mission, our educational programs are not industry-specific. We believe young perspectives are valuable and needed in institutional decision-making across most  – if not all – domains, from academia, to nonprofits, business, sports, and entertainment.

Similarly, TBS’ educational programs are not built with any singular organization type in mind. We aim to offer specific programming for young people interested in serving on corporate, nonprofit, foundation, and any other kind of board. Currently, our educational programming is more tailored to university and academic governing boards, but as the TBS network and number of campaigns grow, so too will the diversity of our programming.

No. For 2020, TBS educational programs are offered at no cost.

Yes. When organizations look for young people to serve on their boards, we hope they will look to TBS as a resource and consider TBS alumni as potential candidates. As our network grows, we will refer our qualified alumni to boards where we believe they could add value based on their lived and professional experience, and we provide them with personalized support through the onboarding process. All of our program alumni also have access to the growing TBS young trustee network.

Please email [email protected] with information about yourself, your organization, what you know about TBS thus far, and how you envision partnering with us.

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