Getting started on your board journey includes building a board profile. So, how does one go about it? It starts with asking yourself what your value proposition is, and what unique skills and experience you bring to a board.
Here are my 3 tips for helping you build your board profile:
1. Define your unique value proposition
Boards are made up of a diversity of thought with members bringing different culture, experience, gender, ethnicity, age and geographic representation. So, what is it that you can bring to an already diverse board? What is your unique board value proposition?
Think of it like an “elevator pitch” where you have 10 seconds to tell someone what you bring to a board. In my case, I say that I have entrepreneurial and financial expertise with high growth and transformational companies in the technology, retail and consumer sectors.
2. Be true to what you passionate about
You need to pursue organizations that deal with what you are interested in or passionate about. For myself, I am passionate about dance. When I was asked to join Canada’s National Ballet School’s (NBS) Board, they asked me why was I interested in NBS, and I replied, “I always wanted to be a ballet dancer.”
Think about companies outside of your industry experience. It can be very rewarding to leverage your skills in a new industry with a whole new network and community to engage with. After spending over 20 years in the technology industry, I was asked to join a retail board, which made me excited because I love to shop. But, I am also a Canadian consumer so I understood that I could bring that perspective to the Board.
Get involved in your Alma Mater. Begin by serving on committees or councils to reconnect with your university and go back on campus. I started getting involved with Brock University by serving on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Goodman School of Business, then on the President’s Advisory Council and was then asked to join the Board of Trustees.
3. Research the companies or industries that you are interested in
Review their values, mission and strategy. Do they align with your own skills, experiences and values? Will you add value?
I always evaluate Board opportunities in three ways:
- How can I add value?
- Do I have a personal statement of the attributes I can bring to the board?
- How can I use my network to make meaningful connections to grow the business?
Building your Board profile is an ongoing process that takes time and takes focus. Good luck!
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