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Adding Nonfamily to Your Board

Nonfamily members can help keep your board of directors on the right track.

This story appears in the December 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Shepard Lee says his decision four years ago to put together a board of outside directors was one of the best things he's ever done in business. Today the board advises his Westbrook, Maine, car dealership, Lee Auto Malls, which was started by his father and a partner 60 years ago.

"I serve on a number of different boards and saw the value outside board members bring," says Lee, 71. "Throughout the years, I kept thinking that I should have one, too. But I was ambivalent. While I knew I needed a group of outsiders to talk to about the larger issues, like how we should be positioning ourselves for the future, I've always been my own boss and I didn't want anyone telling me or my [family] what we could and couldn't do."

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