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Board Readiness Assessment Results - Not Quite Ready
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Not quite ready – you’re on your way, but there is work to be done.  You must devote time to honing your value proposition and filling any experience gaps.

 > Click here to download a printable copy of this result. < 

 

While a public board seat may not be easily within reach for you right now, there are many types of companies and organizations for which you may be a perfect fit. There are many steps you can take to improve your demonstrated value proposition and gain that experience that will make you very attractive to medium-sized companies as well as smaller organizations that may be looking for wonderful board members. 

 

So what should you do to pursue board opportunities?  Ask yourself the following questions:

 

Why would boards want you in the room?

Think back to how you answered the questions.  Maybe your experience in the healthcare industry or in a senior leadership role is not all that recent, or maybe you are a generalist and need to spend time figuring out what sets you apart.  Locate people in similar roles to you that have board opportunities (you might need to look at men) and see what boards they serve on.  Ask them how they feel they provide value.  Use these conversations to inform your bio, resume, and elevator pitch. 

 

Are you a visible expert?

Consider ways to raise your visibility and increase your profile in the industry.  Are you a frequent speaker at conferences?  When people are looking for an expert, do they naturally think of you?  If members of boards hear your name, will they have heard of you?  If not, how can you fix that?  If your company is large enough and has a PR or Communications department, let them know you are interested in being quoted in various publications when media approaches them seeking experts.

 

Are you in the senior-most role of your career?

Maybe you are, but chances are you possibly are not in a c-suite role given the assessment’s determination.  Is this a kind of role you want?  Are you managing a large budget – and can you find a way to manage a larger one?  What are some ways to develop new capabilities while staying in your role that will help you differentiate yourself?

 

Are the non-profits you serve still of interest to you?

Sometimes serving on too many non-profit boards can be a red flag.  This might indicate that you have no time left in your schedule to give.  Are you passionate about their causes and making a difference?  Are the companies run like a business?  Serving a non-profit as a board member should not simply be a stepping stone, but can be one. Part of the value of serving on non-profit boards is the people that you meet as your fellow board members, so it is important to give it your all and not simply use the role as a conduit to something bigger. If you’re passionate about the cause, don’t change a thing, but if you are only hoping the non-profit board will lead to something more, give it another look.

 

How small are you willing to start to get for-profit board experience?

Community boards are a great place to start, whether it’s your local bank or your local hospital.  Geography makes you a natural fit for local opportunities and given your experience level and expertise (as is typical of WBL members), you probably are very well respected in your community.  Similarly, startup companies could also be a great way to get your feet wet. Gain experience providing advice (in a role where you don’t get to help execute!), get in at the ground level, and you may someday be transitioned to a board member.   Or, you can invest and get a role that way. 

 

Do people know you are available and interested?

Finally, in all cases -- spend time cultivating your relationships. You could be the most qualified person in the world, but you'll never get an opportunity without the right relationships.  Get out there, let people know you're interested in serving on a board, and explain why you would be of value. Community boards and startups are looking for leaders like you.  Finally, don’t be discouraged. The average board search takes 3-5 years, and is nothing like a job search.  Keep at it, and be patient.

 

 

How can WBL be a resource?

  1. Get advice on key components of board candidacy including your elevator pitch, positioning yourself, visibility, and more by attending WBL programs (including webinars). We host a few programs every year that focus on board-related content.
  2. Connect with WBL members who serve on boards (and could mentor you and share opportunities) by using the Member Directory to locate and contact them.
  3. Increase your visibility by sharing your career achievements with WBL through our “Here’s to Us!” notice (when you get promoted, a new board seat, publish an article, or have other notable milestones, let WBL know!
  4. Grow your relationships with WBL members so that you are top of mind when their own organizations have board opportunities – never have dinner alone!
  5. When you identify boards and companies of interest, use WBL connections to figure out how to get their attention.
  6. Apply to board (and job, if you’re still looking to get a C-Suite title in your bio) postings on the WBL Forums.
  7. Read Answering the Call, WBL’s book about the duties, risks, and rewards of corporate governance.

 

Good luck!


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This tool is in beta! Please share any feedback with WBL by emailing Eleanor at erosiak@wbl.org. To receive more personalized advice, we recommend you register for a WBL board-related program if you have not already done so.



 



 

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