Chairs Fostering Psychological Safety: Primer for Sustainability and AI Debates – 26 March 5 8:00-9:30 AM CET

Webinar & Peer Exchange

In the current era, where environmental awareness and technological advancements are paramount, the roles of Chairs and board members are increasingly critical. Their decisions not only shape organizational strategies but also impact societal and environmental welfare. Board diversity, a subject of ongoing debate, offers numerous benefits including enhanced decision-making, innovative thinking, and the prevention of groupthink. However, the effectiveness of a diverse board often hinges on the quality of board discussions and the Chair’s ability to facilitate these interactions. Recent surveys reveal that only about half of board members perceive their boards as psychologically safe environments.

The Chair’s role is crucial in promoting open discussions on pressing issues like sustainability, climate action, and responsible AI. A significant challenge for Chairs and Boards is to cultivate a boardroom atmosphere where members feel comfortable to speak freely, take risks, and admit mistakes without fearing negative consequences to their status or careers. Establishing such psychological safety is essential for strategic, effective decision-making within the boardroom.

Organised by the INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre, together with Boards Impact Forum in collaboration with Chapter Zero UK and Climate Governance Initiative Hong Kong, the Webinar and Digital Dialogue will delve into the myths and misconceptions of psychological safety and the critical role that chairs play in fostering a safe environment for board members to feel empowered to raise questions, challenge assumptions and the status quo.

Join us for an interactive exchange as we invite INSEAD Professor Stanislav Shekshnia, Senior Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise and Co-Director of Leading from the Chair programme, to share on the framework of psychological safety in creating positive team dynamics, what research reveals about the practices adopted by board chairs in laying the foundations of trust that build better engagement with board members. Following the academic presentation will be a panel discussion with three distinguished Chairs, guest panelists – Nicolas Allen, Katarina Bonde and Rolf Pfeiffer, who will comment and share their experiences and observations on the practices and pitfalls concerning chairs and their influence on building a culture of psychological safety.

To hear your perspectives on this topic and to tailor the discussions for this webinar, we would like to invite you to share your thoughts by answering a few questions through this confidential survey. Please answer as soon as possible, and at the end of the survey you will get pointers to more insights on the topic.  (Click here to access the SURVEY LINK.)

Presenters and Panelists 

Stanislav Shekshnia

  • Stanislav Shekshnia is a Senior Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise at INSEAD, co-director of Leading from the Chair and Scandinavian Executive Institute Executive Board and Advanced Board development programs. His research concentrates on leadership, leadership development and effective corporate governance at emerging markets and organizations. Shekshnia is the author, co-author, and editor of 11 books, including Leading a Board (2nd edition, 2021), CEO School (2018), Athletic CEOs (2018), and more than 50 articles on corporate governance, entrepreneurship, leadership, people management and intercultural management.
  • Stanislav Shekshnia is a senior partner at WH advisors (Dubai). Stanislav provides advice and personal coaching to business owners, senior executives and executive teams.
  • Since 2001 Dr. Shekshnia has been an independent chair and director at a number of companies in the USA, France, Russia, Ukraine, Holland and Serbia. 
  • In 1991-2002 Stanislav Shekshnia held positions of CEO, Alfa-Telecom, President and CEO, Millicom International Cellular, Russia and CIS, Chief Operating Officer of VimpelCom, Director of Human Resources, Central and Eastern Europe of Otis Elevator.

Nicholas Allen

  • Nicholas Allen, NED at HKEX,  chairman of Audit Committee and member of Risk Committee , NED at  The London Metal Exchange – chairman of Audit Committee, and member of Remuneration Committee, NED at LME Clear Limited – chairman of Audit Committee, and member of Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee. Chair & NED at Link Asset Management Limited, NED Mordril Properties Limited, NED CLP Holdings Limited .
  • Previously NED at Lenovo Group Limited , RAK Rock LLC,  Stevin Rock LLC , VinaLand Limited,  Hysan Development Company and Previously Partner at Limited PricewaterhouseCoopers and Coopers & Lybrand 
  • Qualifications; Bachelor of Arts (Economics/Social Studies) (The University of Manchester, UK), Associate (Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants), Fellow (The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales)

Katarina Bonde

  • Katarina Bonde, Chair of the board at Stillfront Group, Mentimeter AB, Zimpler AB, Stratsys AB, Director of the Board: Mycronic AB, Bure ACQ.
  • Previous Chair of the Board at Opus Group AB, AddSecure  Imint Intelligence AB, DIBS Payment AB, Aptilo Networks,  Director of the Board Microsystemation AB, Nordax Bank, Sjätte AP-fonden (Swedish Pension Fund), Royal Swedish Opera among others.
  • Katarina has a long background as CEO and other executive roles at high tech companies in Sweden and in USA and is now active as Chair and independent director of several companies, both listed and privately held. She has extensive experience in business development, M&A, fundraising and IPOs. She also holds workshops in professional board work and is a frequent speaker on topics such as entrepreneurship, investments, board governance and digitalization of corporations.
  • Katarina Bonde has held a number of executive positions in Sweden and USA in technology companies, e.g.  Executive Chairman at Netreflector Inc, CEO at UniSite Inc. CEO at Captura International Inc., Executive VP Sales and Marketing Timeline Inc, CEO Programmator Industri AB as well as sales and marketing management roles at Dun & Bradstreet, Cap Gemini Consulting, Digital Equipment.
  • She is co-founder of one of the first female business angel networks in the US, Seraph Capital in Seattle (1998, still active) and co-founded Forum for Women Entrepreneurs in Seattle. She also runs a family winery, West Wines, with her husband in northern California.

Rolf Pfeiffer

  • Rolf Pfeiffer, Fellow of the Institute of Coaching (IOC), Harvard, and Co-Host of the IOC EMEA Roundtable. Chair of the Board of Commonpurpose Germany and Vice-Chair of the Foundation of the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany.
  • Managing Partner, Schwarz & Pfeiffer Executive Advisory Partners 
  • 11 years of consulting and leadership experience (e.g. DACH-CHRO of Accenture and CRO/CHRO of CSL Behring). Focus on executive development since 2006, including co-founding an executive development company that is still operating successfully; concurrent work at the Center for Creative Leadership (for 11 years)
  • Member of the executive coach group at HEC Paris in Qatar
  • Diplom-Kaufmann (TU Berlin) and Diplômé de l’ESC Toulouse (today Toulouse Business School).

Liselotte Engstam

  • Liselotte Engstam, serves as board member at World Economic Forums Climate Governance Initiative and Chair at the Nordic Chapter Boards Impact Forum. She serves as Non-Executive Director at four listed companies TietoEvery, Transtema, Zalaris and Cint, and at two private companies Ografy and BordClic.
  • As founder of Digoshen, a thinktank hosting board networks, teaching boards, performing academic research, she provide advice, is a co-author of the books “Leading a Board – Chairs’ practices across Europe”, of “AI Leadership for Boards” and she was appointed one of top 100 globally in Modern Corporate Governance both 2021 and 2022.
  • Liselotte has a background from international leadership positions in the technology & services industry. Liselotte has a Master of Science in Engineering and Sustainability, she is certified international board director IDP-C from INSEAD, and is a Fellow at the Institute of Coaching, Harvard Medical School.



  • Welcome and Introduction
  • Research Insights on Chairs and their Role in Psychological Safety
  • Panellists’ Perspective
  • Poll and Breakout Room Discussions
  • Panellists’ Comments & Q&A
  • Closing Remarks
  • Thank you and Next

About the Author

Related Posts