Emotional Intelligence in the Boardroom

By |2019-10-18T17:44:47-04:00October 18th, 2019|Corporate Board Journey|

I am celebrating my 20th year of serving on corporate boards and have learned it is not so much what you know, but rather how you say it. I have had to train my sense of emotional intelligence (EI) at the boardroom table – including paying attention to everything from verbal communication, to body language, tone of voice, and social graces. I have been around some of the best and brightest board members that have inspired me to reach higher levels in the boardroom. I have also been around other board members that lacked in their EI, with their social graces lacking and boardroom presence very uninspiring. According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who popularized the concept of EI, its definition is: “the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they're feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.” Goleman also organized Emotional Intelligence into five key elements: 1. Self-awareness 2. Self-regulation 3. [...]

Financial Intelligence in the Boardroom

By |2019-07-26T11:34:50-04:00July 25th, 2019|Corporate Board Journey, Understanding Financials|

Every board member has a role in financial oversight. Even if you don’t have financial expertise, you are still expected to maintain an adequate level of financial intelligence. This means that you need to have an understanding of the fundamental concepts, conventions and principles underlying financial statements. Top 5 tips to help you boost your level of financial intelligence in the boardroom: 1. Develop a plan and begin the work. Start by reviewing the annual filings of TSX listed companies that you are interested in or work for. 2. Seek out a mentor or someone who has financial expertise. Ask someone you know that has financial expertise if you can spend time with them over the next 12 months, transferring knowledge and helping you understand core financial concepts. 3. Understand the basic financial concepts/principles and how to look at financial statements. CPA Canada has great document you can refer to: https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/business-and-accounting-resources/financial-and-non-financial-reporting/international-financial-reporting-standards-ifrs/publications/reading-financial-statements-what-do-i-need-to-know-faq 4. Do your financial due diligence before joining a corporate board. Review the annual audited financial statements, quarterly financials, Management, Discussion & Analysis (MD&A) and fore-casts/budgets to understand the [...]

Ethical Intelligence in the Boardroom

By |2019-04-26T20:49:10-04:00April 26th, 2019|Uncategorized|

In the wake of countless business scandals and corporate collapses, there has been a call for a higher standard of business ethics. Ethics are at the heart and soul of every business decision; they form the basis of the underlying culture of every company. However, the culture and ethics of a company are set by the tone at the top: the boardroom. How can boards build a sound and sustainable culture as well as good ethical practices that will improve transparency, decrease the risk of fraud, and reduce the likelihood of reputation damage? The key focus should be to institute practices that outline the expectation of appropriate conduct, and to put in place controls that ensure these standards are being met. Five good governance practices to put in place to ensure good oversight: 1. Code of Conduct A Code of Conduct drives the board and each director to focus on areas of ethical risk, provide guidance to directors to help them recognize and deal with ethical issues, provide mechanisms to report unethical conduct, and ultimately helps foster [...]

Board Diversity – Are You an Agent of Change?

By |2019-02-20T18:33:14-05:00February 20th, 2019|Change, Corporate Board Journey|

It still surprises me that there has been little change in Corporate Canada in terms of adding more women to TSX listed boards. It has been four years since the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) implemented disclosure rules mandating that TSX-listed companies “comply or explain” as relates to their board diversity figures. The implementation was intended to lead to positive changes in how corporate boards recruit new board members, however, according to the recent Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt report 2018 Diversity Disclosure Practices, only 16.4% of directors sitting on corporate boards in 2018 were women. This change represents a slight increase in the average proportion of women on the board compared to prior years when the average percentage of female directors was relatively stagnant (12% in 2015, 13% in 2016 and 14.5% in 2017). So why is it that Canada’s boardrooms are not more diverse, when in fact, I often get asked to consider a board opportunity because the company is looking to add diversity to its board? I truly believe that creating a diverse board requires business leaders [...]

Exploring New Board Opportunities, Being Gracious in Saying “No”

By |2019-01-07T20:30:57-05:00January 7th, 2019|Corporate Board Journey, Getting Board-Ready|

So, you are excited you received an email or phone call asking if you would consider a board opportunity. The steps you take to determine whether you are interested or not should be particularly strategic when exploring new board opportunities. The first step, do your due diligence in making sure you understand the company, culture, any conflicts that exist, and why you were considered for the board opportunity. Refer to my blog on building your board profile here: https://womengetonboard.ca/building-your-board-profile. Make sure you know the companies or industries that you are interested in. Review their values, mission and strategy. Do they align with your skills, experiences and values? Will you add value? I always evaluate Board opportunities in three ways: 1. How can I add value? 2. Do I have a personal statement of the attributes I can bring to the board? 3. How can I use my network to make meaningful connections to grow the business? The second step, if you are interested the opportunity, you should request more information early on, including: · A detailed board [...]

Finding Your Voice at the Boardroom Table

By |2018-08-08T22:27:39-04:00August 8th, 2018|Corporate Board Journey|

What does it mean to find your voice at the boardroom table when you are a new board member appointed to a board that has longstanding relationships? Or a new Chair of the Board is appointed and you have never worked together? Or when you are the “token” woman at the boardroom table? How do you break in with credibility and build trust with your board colleagues? There are five tips I would like to share in helping you find your voice at the boardroom table: 1. Onboarding An onboarding process is set up to ensure that new board members familiarize themselves with the company, the industry it competes within, and the governance practices it’s ruled by. Its purpose is also to familiarize new board members, like yourself, with people you will be working with, such as other board members and members of the senior management team. It’s not uncommon that new board members may take up to a year to feel that they have fully completed the onboarding process and can become truly effective in their [...]

A Strategic Approach to Filling Board Positions Is Critical — Regardless of Your Gender

By |2018-05-16T16:57:24-04:00May 16th, 2018|Change, Corporate Board Journey|

  Written by: Debbie Stojanovic, CEO, Nealon Consulting & Deborah Rosati, Founder & CEO, Women Get On Board Diversity, and gender diversity in particular, is a top agenda item in boardrooms today — as it should be. It’s a priority not only because there are now legislative and regulatory changes that require it, but also because it’s just good business practice. Research shows that the right board composition can enhance decision-making processes and augment an organization’s performance and market reputation.  Menhi, Ekta & Dart, Beatrix, 2018/02/18, Globe and Mail, OpEd, More work must be done to boost gender diversity in Canada’s boardrooms, Link.   Can an improperly composed board pose a reputational risk for your organization? You bet. Today, we can’t open a newspaper, attend a meeting/event or have a general conversation without touching on some aspect of diversity. And that’s a good thing. From a board perspective, the conversation is shifting from why we need more women at the table to how we can accelerate progress. In light of this, it will be interesting to see what [...]

Network Mapping Your Way onto a Board

By |2018-01-06T12:16:19-05:00January 6th, 2018|Corporate Board Journey, Getting Board-Ready, The Power of...|

Joining a board is about fit and style. The Board wants to make sure that your style will fit in. To help them decide, think about your network and how you might be connected to any one of the Board members. This is what I call “network mapping.” Use your network to map how you might be connected to members of the Board. The more connections you have to the Board, the more comfort they can get on how you will fit in. Don’t be afraid to ask for introductions! To help you map your network, it is important to understand who can help connect you to a board opportunity. Your network can be broken into the following groups: Decision Makers: these are individuals that will make the final decision on who will join their board. These include: board members, in particular, the Chair of the Board and Chair of the Nominating Committee. Connectors: Connectors make change happen through people. These are individuals that will connect you to board members, CEOs and Executives of a company you [...]

Are You Diversifying Your Board Portfolio?

By |2017-09-08T22:26:03-04:00September 8th, 2017|Corporate Board Journey, Getting Board-Ready|

I began my board journey without the thought of diversifying my board portfolio. In saying “board portfolio”, I am referring to the various boards you lead and serve on. These boards collectively make up your board portfolio. Analogous to your investment portfolio, you want to be strategic in developing your board portfolio to accurately reflect your risk profile and the stage/age of your career. Just like your investment portfolio, you should monitor and review your board portfolio on a regular basis to ensure you are getting a return on your board portfolio. When thinking of diversifying your board portfolio, here are three key areas for consideration: Consider the Evolution of Your Board Journey In evaluating the evolution of your board journey, you may think about the size and stage of the boards you serve on. For example, if you join the board of an emerging company, the director’s role is often weighted to a value-add role and more hands-on. As the company matures, the role may become more weighted to an oversight role. To better understand your [...]

Are You Thinking of Creating an Advisory Board?

By |2017-03-14T22:26:16-04:00March 14th, 2017|Corporate Board Journey, Getting Board-Ready|

I'm often asked about whether an emerging company should create an Advisory Board versus forming a governance fiduciary board. My response to entrepreneurs thinking of creating an Advisory Board is to be strategic in the formation of your Advisory Board. An Advisory Board is not a Board of Directors with legal and fiduciary responsibilities. In contrast, an Advisory Board does not have any formal legal responsibilities and liabilities. Rather, an Advisory Board is created by the CEO of the company to get advice and support. Over the years I have been invited to serve on Advisory Boards & Councils and have enjoyed providing strategic advice and guidance. More recently, I had the opportunity to create an Advisory Board for Women Get On Board, consisting of members with experience and connections in governance, law, investment banking, accounting, financial services, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, professional development, and media. Thank you all for your commitment and support to help us fulfill our mandate to connect, promote and empower women to corporate boards. Five key strategic considerations when creating an Advisory Board: [...]

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