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Board Readiness Assessment Results - Ready to Start Your Search
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Ready to start your search – if you package yourself right, keep at it, and get to know the right people, board service is on the horizon for you.

 

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

 

You have a lot to offer, and if you package yourself right, stay visible, and get to know the right people, there's nothing stopping you from doing what you need to locate that perfect opportunity.  It's all about networks, relationships, who you know, and how you pitch your value proposition.

 

Ask yourself the following questions:

 

Why would boards want you in the room?

You have solid leadership experience and probably a great track record.  Does it show when people look at your bio and resume?  What are you especially an expert at?  It can be anything, whether it’s finance or building great relationships.  Figure out how to make your bio and documents work for you and how to get this across clearly in an elevator pitch.

 

Are you as visible as you should be?

You’re probably well known in your industry, but this is always an area where people can spend more time focusing. Think about what you can do to increase your visibility, whether it is accepting additional opportunities to speak at conferences, authoring more pieces, going to more networking events, or even leading charitable causes.

 

Are there gaps in your experience that you could and would want to fill?

Maybe you’re in a C-suite role but haven’t been CEO yet. Maybe you’re CEO but could be CEO of a larger organization, or one with a different focus (B2C, international, etc).  Talk with people you know who serve on boards and get information about what types of backgrounds they’ve looked for recently. Don’t know anyone who serves on boards? We’ll get to that later.  Consider attending programs like NACD’s Director Professionalism Series that can help you gain an awareness of key governance issues so you’re literate in board-speak.  Take time now to be sure your company is comfortable with your serving on an outside board. WBL has documents and literature on our website to help demonstrate the value proposition to them if it is an issue.

 

Consider startup boards, investment opportunities, and private equity and growth equity firms as a way to get some experience with for-profit boards.

Startup companies could also be a great way to get some board experience under your belt.  Spend time researching and volunteering for start up incubators, and use these opportunities to expand your skill set and get practice providing advice in a setting where you are not involved with execution. Maybe you would need to invest to gain a board role.  In all of these cases, it is important to be sure the organization you’d be serving is viable and worth your time, because you are a well-qualified candidate with a great background to offer.  Also spend time getting to know the (mostly male) leaders who run PE and GE firms and cultivating solid, mutually beneficial relationships with these leaders. They are the ones with say in selecting independent board members and should know you and your abilities well.

 

Be strategic about your networking and your experiences.

Think about the kind of board opportunities you’re interested in, and what kind of background they would look for.  Think through your contacts and work backwards – who do you know that knows the people who serve on that board?  Does your board know you want a board seat?  What about your colleagues.. and friends.. neighbors… people you know socially.  Don’t limit your networking to health care or even professional activities.

 

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.  Don't forget to be patient- this can take up to 5 years even if you are very qualified!

 

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.   Registrants of WBL’s board program in fall 2017 will receive a 30 minute consultation call that will help address this.
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