Being a Corporate Director is much different from being an executive. A Corporate Director’s role is one of oversight, whereas an executive’s role is to manage day-to-day operations. Getting yourself board-ready is a journey where you need to be realistic in the skills, experience and value you bring to a board. It would help if you also were mindful that it is a very competitive marketplace. There is an over-supply of qualified Corporate Directors for a limited supply of available corporate board seats.
As Founder & CEO of Women Get On Board and as a leading and serving Corporate Director, my social purpose is to empower more women on corporate boards with my top 10 tips to help you in your journey to a corporate board:
1. Be fearless — use your confidence to embrace change.
- Be independent-minded and stand up for what you believe in.
- Do the right thing and be ethical in your decisions.
- Have courage, be brave, be decisive and be determined.
2. Plan your journey, set goals and plan the path to your success.
- Be aspirational in your dreams. What do you have a strong desire, longing, aim or ambition for?
- Think outside your comfort zone. Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, or maybe 20 years from today?
- Tell your inner circle about your journey, goals and plans for your future.
3. Be curious — explore new opportunities and solve problems.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions; seek to understand.
- Look for ways to re-invent yourself.
- Change is good, change is inevitable, so make change part of your life.
4. Get involved in your community.
- Seek out not-for-profit board opportunities.
- Volunteer for a cause that you care about?
- You will meet new people outside of your current business circle that you can help make a difference
5. Continuous learning — invest in your professional development.
- As professionals, we have continuing professional development requirements…go beyond your requirements.
- Mastery =10,000 hours in a particular skill/expertise
- Knowledge is power, so keep learning!
6. Be your authentic self.(From The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz)
- “Be Impeccable with your Word.”
- “Don’t take anything personal.”
- “Don’t Make Assumptions.”
- “Always do your best.”
7. Network, network, network.
- Go to events (in person and virtually) that matter to you and meet new people.
- Invite someone new out to lunch or coffee (or a virtual meeting).
- Ask for introductions.
8. Be visible — speak up and stand out.
- Be a thought leader; post your own blogs, presentations and articles on social media.
- Speak up/comment on topics you care about or have expertise on.
- Take on leadership roles.
9. Seek out, mentors and sponsors.
- Look for a mentor outside of your organization. Find someone who inspires you.
- Become a mentor to others. You will learn a lot from them!
- Seek out a sponsor. Look for someone who will make introductions for you.
10. Embrace and use social media to promote yourself.
- Enhance your profile on LinkedIn.
- Be active, thoughtful and relevant in your social media.
- Leverage your LinkedIn to attract new business, speaking and board opportunities.
If you would like more information and tips on preparing yourself for board roles, you can download a copy of my ebook “How to Get Yourself on a Board,” now in its second edition. I have spent many years advocating for women on their board journey. Through this ebook, I share my knowledge on mastering the foundations of serving on a board, positioning your board offer, getting board interviews and acing your board interview.
Additionally, in collaboration with LHH Knightsbridge, Women Get On Board offers the Getting Board Ready (GBR) Program. GBR is designed to empower women on their journey to land their first corporate board seat. This online program offers practical and actionable insights in a combination of micro-learning, virtually facilitated discussion by experts, practical homework, and hands-on support. For more information, see: https://www.womengetonboard.ca/getting-board-ready-program/