Leadership Success Stories

Ross Mugler

As a 14-year veteran of Old Dominion University’s Board of Visitors, Ross Mugler has witnessed the sea change created by innovations in board governance technology. See how he says OnBoard helps him fulfill duties for multiple boards.

Leadership Success Story
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Leader: Ross Mugler

Board Role: Director

Boards Served:

  • Old Dominion Board of Visitors
  • Thomas Nelson Community College Educational Foundation
  • Hampton Education Foundation
  • Virginia Air and Space Museum
  • Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB)

Industry: Higher education

Location: Hampton, Virginia

Board Management Goals

  • Support service on multiple boards
    Provide easy-to-use and intuitive experience Ensure all board materials stays secure

Ross Mugler has served on more than two dozen boards over more than 20 years of community service. When he first began serving, he recalls being constantly inundated with paper. He and other board members received reams of hardcopy meeting materials each month. Today, things are much easier.

“We would get two-inch stacks of documents delivered via mail two weeks before every board meeting,” Mugler says. “Now everything is paperless and easy to use.”

Mugler notes he doesn’t miss his file cabinets full of paper. He’s witnessed the evolution of board management processes and tools over the years and has no interest in going back. Today, he can access all the documents he needs quickly through a smartphone or tablet using the OnBoard board portal.

A Single Solution for Serving on Multiple Boards

It’s especially beneficial because Mugler — who serves on multiple boards for various organizations — is able to access information for different boards with a single login. From there, he navigates easily between the separate accounts.

“As a person who has been on a lot of nonprofit boards for community organizations, foundations, and other state boards, I think it’s a perfect tool,” he said.

Mugler has received several gubernatorial appointments and serves on the Board of Visitors at Old Dominion University, and on the Thomas Nelson Community College Educational Foundation. He also serves on Boards of Directors for the Hampton Education Foundation, the Virginia Air and Space Center, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB).

“It’s just been very easy for board members to pick up...anyone can figure it out. We knew right away when we switched platforms how much better off we were.”  


An Accessible and Easy-to-Use Solution for All

It was through the AGB Board of Directors that Mugler was first introduced to OnBoard. The association’s previous board management solution was cumbersome and difficult to use, so AGB leaders sought a better option.

“We have found OnBoard to really be an efficient and effective manner to disseminate information,” Mugler says. “It is very intuitive and easy to use, and a really effective way for us to conduct our business.”

The ease of use is especially important for non-profit boards that typically include people of different ages and from different professional backgrounds. Some naturally are less tech savvy than others. When the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors started using OnBoard recently, the transition was seamless, Mugler says. Directors and staff needed minimal training because it was so straightforward to set up and use.

“It’s just been very easy for our board professional and board members to pick up,” he adds. “Anyone can figure it out. We just knew right away when we switched platforms how much better off we were as board members to have this great new system. It was awesome.”

Among its many responsibilities, the Old Dominion Board of Visitors oversees the university president, strategic planning, budgeting, and executive hiring for the university, which was founded in 1930. Directors can use the OnBoard portal to review reports, take notes, send secure messages, sign documents, complete surveys, and more. Scheduling is easy, and links to the meetings are automatically included in the calendars invites. They also have the comfort of knowing it’s a secure platform with strong protections against cybersecurity, Ross says.

A Solution that Lets Directors Focus on Strategy

Leaders at Old Dominion like OnBoard so much there are plans to expand it to the university’s education board and foundation, and possibly other boards in the future.


Because the portal is so easy to use, it frees executives and directors up to focus on more important strategic matters. Like universities nationwide, Mugler says Old Dominion University faces concerns over enrollment declines in the aftermath of the pandemic and the projected demographic cliff — when low birthrates during the 2008 financial crisis are expected to hit higher education with a drop-off in traditional college-age students starting in 2025.


“I think we’re all trying to find the new norm,” Mugler says. “If you’re not having enough strategic discussions about how to maintain and grow your institution, you are going to face some real financial stability challenges.”

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