Earlier today, news hit the wire that Theresa Metty was joining Perfect Commerce's Board of Directors. For those who don't know Theresa, she is Motorola's former CPO and is currently chair of the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). In my view, this is an obvious coup for Perfect, who will gain access to her industry network and knowledge (who knows, maybe she'll even ride one of her Harleys on stage during one of Perfect's events). Theresa has also been acting as a consultant to other vendors such as Rearden Commerce, and has established a solid network with a number of innovative technology providers, which should also benefit Perfect as well.
My only concern over her joining Perfect is whether taking a board seat at a vendor will jeopardize her objectivity chairing ISM. Consider how this might impact ISM in subtle ways which might be hard to trace, but would certainly benefit Perfect. For example, might a Perfect customer gain a preferred speaking slot at an ISM event? Or consider a scenario where Theresa pens a whitepaper or does a webcast for Perfect and lists her ISM credentials. Or perhaps Theresa might be inclined to suggest to her fellow board members or other ISM participants that they consider looking at Perfect in certain areas. Even an introduction to Perfect or suggestion falls in the "grey" area in my book, as Theresa stands to benefit financially from their success. To avoid a conflict of interest -- or even a perceived conflict of interest -- I would urge Theresa to resign her ISM chair. I have no doubt she'll make a great contribution to the vendor world, and she can always return to ISM in the future. And besides, her reputation stands on its own, even without ISM.