Set Your Company Up for Success with Advisors, Mentors & Boards

04/19/2022 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm CST Virtual
  • Early Stage
  • Growth Stage

Join 1871 and The Private Directors Association to learn about how mentors, advisors and different types of Boards can help accelerate and lead to the success of your business.

Event Start Date:
September 25, 2023
Event End Date:
September 25, 2023
Event Venue:

All businesses take support and human capital to build, and particularly rely on support to succeed. For many founders and management teams, knowing when to engage advisors, Advisory Boards and Boards of Directors can be challenging. Balancing the desires of those influencers with the founding principles of the company can be tricky as well. 

We invite all early-stage founders and growth-stage company management teams to join us for this informative discussion, led by Early Stage Committee members of the Private Directors Association. These experts will lead a discussion on the following topics, with a question and answer session to follow

  • How, when, and why early-stage company founders and growth stage company management teams should consider engaging with mentors and advisors, recruiting Advisory Boards, and formalizing effective Boards of Directors during the phases of a company’s life cycle.
  • The differences between a mentor, an advisor, an advisory board member, and an ” official” fiduciary board member.
  • How growth-stage companies can tap PDA members as mentors, advisors, and fiduciary board members.
  • What makes a productive, helpful advisor/board member; what to seek, and what to avoid.
  • How a company develops an advisory board, and later a fiduciary board, and the legal liability implications of each. 
  • How board members are typically paid by smaller growth businesses.
  • What a fiduciary board member can and should do, should not and cannot do, for a company.

About PDA: 
The Private Directors Association (“PDA”) is a coalition of independent board directors, future board directors, and executive leaders, as well as private company owners seeking to hire board members. PDA was founded in Chicago in 2014, and now has about 400 Chicago members, and about 3,000 members nationwide.

PDA is focused on board governance, company risk assessment, and improving private companies’ growth and sustainability. PDA provides education and training to its members on: Board governance, issue-spotting, risk assessment, sustainability, diversity, and growth strategy, to supplement the advisor’s existing industry experience and technical knowledge. PDA provides avenues of experience for PDA members to serve on boards.

PDA’s community includes highly experienced board members, qualified future board members, and mentors, who are available to mentor and advise private companies, including emerging and growth-stage businesses.

Presented by

Register Below


Alan J. Mindlin is the Electrical Engineering Design Manager for Inventus Power leading a team of engineers
focused on New Product Introduction and forward-looking, advanced technology research. He is the Chair of the
Early-Stage Committee of PDA – Chicago Chapter and also has his own consulting firm offering product
management, marketing, strategy, and design expertise. Alan has been an early employee of and consultant to
successful start-ups and early-stage companies and is an 1871 mentor. He has an MBA in Marketing and
Operations from Washington University in St. Louis and an MSEE from Purdue University.

Jeff Lyons is a management consultant, investment banker and Board director/advisor to emerging growth companies. He is also an entrepreneurial company founder, educator, and mentor to early-stage technology-based companies.

Jeff is currently a Techstars Chicago mentor, CoFoundersLab advisor, and Private Directors Association Early-Stage Committee member. Jeff has served as an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University and a mentor and advisor at the Kellogg School of Management (MBA alumnus) and the Ross School of Business – University of Michigan (BBA alumnus). At Northwestern, Jeff also served on the Advisory Board for NUvention: Web + Media, as a Board Director for Northwestern Student Holdings, and as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Kellogg. Previously, Jeff co-led the Fullbridge XBA in Entrepreneurship program at 1871 and has served as a Campus 1871 judge.

Since 2019, Jeff has served on the Board of Directors of Bright Health Insurance Company of Illinois, Inc., a wholly- owned subsidiary of Bright Health Group, Inc. (NYSE: BHG). His entrepreneurial career includes serving as President at BigTime Software, Inc., a VC-backed SaaS company, where he was a Board member and principal shareholder from 2010 through 2019. Previously, he cofounded and served as Executive Vice President and on the Board of Directors at PRIMIS Marketing Group, Inc., a marketing data services firm successfully sold to a multi-billion dollar private equity firm in 2006.

Nancy Fallon-Houle is an entrepreneurial business lawyer for small growing businesses and startups. She is an entrepreneur and business owner herself as the founder of Velocity Law, which she has operated for 23 years after working as a corporate, securities and M&A (business acquisitions) lawyer in the Chicago office of Katten Law for 12 years. Nancy is an experienced Advisory Board member and early-stage company mentor through her work with Chicago area businesses incubators and serves on the Private Directors Association Early-Stage Committee. 

She handles business formations, corporate law and corporate governance, corporate “clean up” before a transaction, shareholder and partner agreements, NDAs, vendor & customer agreements, and business transaction agreements. Nancy helps clients prepare the business for and navigating through the legal aspects of transactions with investors, or with business buyers (or sellers), including surviving due diligence, disclosure documents, and securities law filings.