Suzanne VanSligtenhorst, Corporate Law Clerk at New Gold is being recognized by Diligent’s Modern Governance 100 program. The Modern Governance 100 is a community of governance professionals who have been nominated for their innovation, resilience, dedication and empathy in the face of a complex and ever-changing world.
As a modern leader, Suzanne VanSligtenhorst is committed to ensuring smooth operations and effective governance processes. Throughout her partnership with Diligent, her goal has been to provide a simplified board meeting experience for directors and key employees by digitizing the process.
Suzanne’s approach to improving governance is driven by ensuring the best use of time and resources to maximise efficiency, ensure information security and minimise the environmental impact of board operations. She advocates using digital board management tools to eliminate excess use of paper and free up the time spent on collating hard copy board packs to devote to higher value activities.
With recent challenges arising from COVID-19, Suzanne has found new opportunities to devise solutions to ensure the New Gold board and its committees continue to operate optimally. This includes finding innovative ways to ensure business continuity throughout working remotely, leveraging digital signatures and voting documents to name a few.
How Suzanne uses Diligent
- As a secure, accessible platform for directors to review board meeting materials
- To maintain and enhance secure governance processes during virtual board meetings
- Digitization of manual questionnaire processes to save time and ensure accuracy
Recently, Suzanne has adapted her use of Diligent boards to gain secure sign off for the minutes of previous meetings: “We had to figure out a way of getting our directors to sign off on minutes without actually sending them by email, which would be really insecure. We use the ‘create a voting document’ feature to allows our Chairs and our Secretary to sign documents securely.”
Suzanne also recognizes the cyber threat landscape, pertinent to sending materials by email, as a key driver for a modern governance approach. With risks of phishing and hacking ever-present in the Mining industry, New Gold’s partnership with Diligent ensures security, and gives Suzanne a sense of comfort knowing sensitive materials are in a secure ecosystem. “When you’re sending materials by email – it’s never a good thing because you always run the risk of someone having access to the email or send to the wrong email address. With Diligent, it’s a secure connection and only the people you want to see the materials can see them.”
This is reflected in Suzanne’s view of modern governance: “[It] means ways of running the company that keep the company safe, keep the company risk averse and keep the company out of trouble.”
About the Nominee
Suzanne VanSligtenhorst has almost thirty years of legal experience with both law firms and corporations. She joined New Gold in 2019 as Corporate Law Clerk. She is a Fellow of The Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario and has sat on its Board of Directors for almost ten years as Co-Chair of Education, Co-Chair of Public Relations and most recently as Secretary to the Board.
About New Gold
New Gold is a Canadian-focused intermediate gold mining company with a portfolio of two core producing assets in Canada, the Rainy River and New Afton Mines. The Company also holds an 8% gold stream on the Artemis Gold Blackwater project located in British Columbia and a 6% equity stake in Artemis. The Company also operates the Cerro San Pedro Mine in Mexico (in reclamation). New Gold’s vision is to build a leading diversified intermediate gold company based in Canada that is committed to environment and social responsibility.