What Should Directors Think About When it Comes to Compensation Governance?

Interview by Antoinette Burrell, Communications Manager, Women Get On Board

Paul Gryglewicz, Senior Partner at Global Governance Advisors speaks about the key elements of Compensation Governance.

What are some of the current aspects of the Human Resource Compensation Committee’s (HRCC) governance process you think is critical for a newly appointed director?

 Any new director who has been appointed to the HRCC needs to get up to speed on the annual work plan the committee traditionally undertakes.  This may include a one-on-one talk with the compensation committee chair and other board members who are decision makers along with the head of HR and CEO.

It’s important to understand how that particular board manages the compensation process in order to get a perspective about how the process works. The director should start by reviewing a typical employment agreement (at a minimum that of the CEO) to understand the legal terms of the contract and various severance arrangements that could be owed to executives.

It then builds into understanding how the annual bonus and equity plans work by reviewing those documents. A review of this information will provide a new director with better clarity on the goal setting, vesting conditions, and other compensation agreements currently in place.

What are some key fundamentals that directors should understand about total executive compensation design that are relevant in today’s market?

First, get a firm understanding of the compensation philosophy and what compensation components the organization offers to key executives. For example, are they getting an annual bonus, a long-term incentive or both?

Then, review how the HRCC has traditionally managed the annual process. If there is a bonus structure, is it discretionary or formulaic? Find out which performance metrics are used to measure performance. Also, compare how others in the industry reward for executives in similar roles.

Finally, do some research to find out how the stakeholder community perceives executive compensation at your organization and determine the disclosure requirements for the organization.

What is one tip you would provide when a board needs to hire an independent advisor on executive compensation?

Boards should hire early in the fiscal year, so the advisor has the ability to understand the business and compensation strategy. During the hiring process, they should consider the characteristics of the individual. It should be someone who is forthright about recommendations, especially when there are tough decisions to be made. It’s also important for the individual to have extensive industry knowledge and be highly responsive, especially in demanding or urgent situations.

What are some good reference materials that directors should read to help them be current and be effective as a director in the area of executive compensation & CEO succession planning?

There is a lot of great literature on executive compensation out there in the marketplace. First off, a good daily read includes writings on what the media is saying about executive compensation. Get a sense for the pulse of the community in order to stay current on important topics and trends.

Secondly, seek out information published by associations. The Institute of Corporate Directors, The Directors College and/or Canadian Coalition of Good Governance publish a lot of thought leadership pieces related to compensation and succession planning. They offer a good balance of written material and also seminars that you can attend in person.

Third, look to professional services companies such as independent compensation advisory firms and law firms who often present a well-rounded perspective of the issues.

Last but certainly not least, it is also important to ensure an enriched annual education forum is provided to Human Resources Compensation Committee members – this can be done via a consultant coming in to do a custom education session or by attending some of the industry association events that may occur throughout the year.

What is one area in executive compensation that you think directors need to understand from a regulatory perspective?

Executive Compensation decisions need to be handled proactively. Best practice is to have the HRCC meet four times per year to review and discuss various compensation and human capital issues and continue that cycle in order to keep the information current. I would also highlight that if the HRCC gets the Corporate Secretary to minute all of the education events and conferences attended by each of the board members throughout the year, it provides good background to include as part of the annual circular (Proxy). This ensures that the board is prepared to explain the processes and activities as they happened, and also that information is reported accurately before too much time passes. Doing this presents well when the information needs to go into the public disclosure document.

The shareholder community has been on an escalating scale spending more time and attention scrutinizing board’s decisions on executive compensation, so it is critical the board understands who are the major shareholders and what are the proxy voting guidelines each follows.  Directors need to be aware that “shareholder acceptable”decisions that were made 2-3 years ago may not be viewed as favourably today.

A good example of this is the emerging negative view the shareholder community is taking on “out of plan”awards (i.e. special bonuses, for the executive doing something extraordinary for the shareholders in a given year – such as a meaningful acquisition). Historically and to a certain extent today, boards would provide special incentives over and above the current compensation arrangements.  These decisions are about to face more scrutiny of being acceptable coming into the 2017 AGM season.

In addition to this, the expectation that long-term incentive awards continue to adopt some form of performance conditions in order to vest is continuing to be reinforced through higher adoption of Performance Share Units (“PSUs”).

Want to learn more about Compensation Governance?

Women Get On Board in Partnership with Global Governance Advisors presents its inaugural Compensation Governance workshop. Register at http://bit.ly/WorkshopSept22.

 

Top 10 Tips to Help You in Your Journey to a Corporate Board

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Written by:
Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D
Corporate Director, Founder & CEO, Women Get On Board

Being a Corporate Director is much different than 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 your skills, experience and value you bring to a board. You also need to be 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 a Corporate Director and co-founder of Women Get On Board, my goal is to help executives make that transition effectively. This is why I want to share 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.
  1. Plan your journey, set goals and plan the path to your success.
    ~
    Be aspirational in your goals. 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 even 20 years from today?
    ~Tell your inner circle about your journey, goals and/or plans for your future.
  1. Be curious — explore new opportunities and solve problems.
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    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.
  1. 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. 
  1. Continuous learning — invest in your professional development.
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    As professionals we have continuing professional development requirements…go beyond your requirements.
    ~Mastery =10,000 hours in a particular skill/expertise etc.
    ~Knowledge is power, so keep learning!
  1. 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.”
  1. Network, network, network.
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    Go to events that matter to you and meet new people.
    ~Invite someone new out to lunch or coffee.
    ~Ask for introductions.
  1. Be visible — speak up and stand out.
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    Be a thought leader; post your blogs, presentations and articles on social media.
    ~Speak up/comment on topics you care about or have expertise on.
    ~Take on leadership roles.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 career opportunities.

If you would like more information and tips on how to prepare yourself for board roles, please visit Women Get On Board for information on the 2016 Getting Board-ready workshops. The purpose of the workshops is to help women gain insights and learn about the skills they need to prepare for board opportunities. These half-day workshops will be facilitated by corporate directors and governance experts. They will share their experiences to empower women to become more confident in order to lead and serve on boards.

How to Build Your Board Resume

Written by:
Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D
Corporate Director, Founder & CEO, Women Get On Board

We would like to thank our Event Partner, Stanton Chase Toronto with Managing Partners Cathy Logue and Joanne  Elek for their support of  our April 6th Roundtable Event “How to Build Your Board Resume.” We also appreciate the participation of our moderator Kelly McDougald and our panellists Lisa Melchior and Tom Muir.

Building a Board Resume is a journey that involves many stages. It’s a continuous process of showcasing yourself as a board candidate through documentation, networking and interviews.

The concept of “wisdom trumps knowledge” and how this can add value to a Board

Even those who have deep experience and functional knowledge don’t always have all the answers. Wisdom is a combination of knowledge, judgment, and experience — all important components that go into good decision-making.

Some people feel that if they don’t have a CPA designation they don’t add value, but that’s not the case. Each board member has different things to contribute, and brings a unique perspective and experience. Sometimes, the most effective people to contribute to discussion and debate are those with the least subject knowledge because they can be objective.

The importance of being “multi-dimensional” for a potential board opportunity

During an interview, will you will be asked about your area of expertise and to demonstrate how much depth you have in your area of specialty. Over the course of your career it’s important to become an expert on something because it will increase your unique value. Board members will see not just how much knowledge you have, but more importantly, how you reflected on it and spent time applying that knowledge. They will look for your examples of how you handled decision-making in a stressful or difficult situation. Give them scenarios of how you worked through a very complex problem and produced great results. It’s about demonstrating where you lean-in and take leadership roles on committees and sub committees. Don’t be afraid to talk about your experiences.

The difference between a career resume and a board resume

A career resume highlights the roles and accomplishments you have achieved as a professional. A board resume showcases your unique value proposition and what skills/expertise and industry knowledge you bring to a board. You should demonstrate the governance leadership roles you have taken in the boards you have served on, i.e. what committees you have chaired, and highlight your board journey with the various boards you have served on.

Do you need governance education to serve on a board?

A common question among individuals embarking on a board career is whether or not they need to have a formal governance certification or designation (C.Dir or ICD.D). While it provides a valuable base to prepare you for board roles, it is not always a requirement. Your skills/expertise and board governance experience along with your industry knowledge are what boards look for first.

Three Tips on how to enhance your board experience & skills

  1. Demonstrate leadership by joining a committee, and demonstrating your strengths and skills. Try to get on committees and chair committees that are away from your functional area. For example, if you are in finance, try HR or a quality committee to broaden your scope and experience.
  2. Find a topic that you are passionate about and you will engage people in a more meaningful way. You can increase your engagement by going to workshops and seminars where you can connect with others in the same niche.
  3. Stay current with industry trends by reading articles and director’s journals on change management and organizational development. Keep yourself well versed on new management techniques, as it gives you the ability to engage and understand current events and trends.

 

Are You Advancing Your Board Diversity Mandate?

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Written by:
Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D
Corporate Director, Founder & CEO, Women Get On Board

It still surprises me that in the 21st century Canada’s boardrooms are not more diverse. In fact, I often get asked to consider a board opportunity because the company is looking to add diversity to their board. As of January 2015, the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) implemented disclosure rules for TSX-listed companies to “comply or explain” in regards to their board diversity. It is hopeful that this will lead to positive changes ahead in how corporate boards recruit new board members.

Be an Agent of Change
As a corporate director, I believe that the OSC “comply or explain” disclosure rules present an opportunity to build stronger boards through change. There is research to support that more women on boards brings better financial performance including higher return on sales and better stock growth. As well, non-financial performance, like bringing diverse viewpoints, skills and experience, can improve overall decision making, enhance a company’s capacity to build a pipeline of potential future women executives and encourage innovation.

So, how can you be an Agent of Change in making board diversity a strategic opportunity for board-building? The first step is to ask yourself these 10 questions to help advance your Board diversity mandate.

10 Board Diversity Mandate Questions

  1. Do you perform an annual board assessment of your current board composition, and do you have diversity of thought, skills, experience, gender, age, industry and geographic?
  2. Have you defined what board diversity means to your company in terms of the commitment and needs?
  3. Do you have set term limits and/or age limits for your current board?
  4. Do you have a board diversity policy that sets out targets for women representation on your board?
  5. Do you go outside your current network when looking for new board talent?
  6. Do you have an internal diversity champion?
  7. Do you perform an annual board performance evaluation for board renewal?
  8. Do you keep an evergreen list of diverse board candidates for board renewal?
  9. Do you have a board succession planning process?
  10. Do you ensure there are diverse board candidates in the board search process? (Do you know about Women Get On Board and our directory that we are building of qualified women corporate directors?)

Diverse boards enhance a company’s financial and non-financial performance. So, let’s all step up today and collectively be Agents of Change in advancing board diversity in Canada. Together, we can make a difference in advancing diversity as a strategic opportunity for board-building.

How to Promote Yourself Online

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Social media is growing and you need to think about how you build your personal brand online. Whether you are an experienced (and emerging) Corporate Director, it is a good way to find opportunities and make connections. Today, being online is a relevant way to promote yourself and showcase your accomplishments!

On February 18, 2016, Women Get On Board held our first event of the year, supported by our first Event Partner, Welch LLP. Our speakers; Josée Morin, entrepreneur and bilingual Corporate Director, Deborah Rosati, Corporate Director and Co-founder, Women Get On Board, and Susan Varty, Co-founder, Digital Strategy and Personal Branding, Women Get On Board, shared their experiences and tips on how to use digital media to promote yourself online.

Benefits of being active online

You need to be visible and stand out online to get noticed for potential board opportunities. Using social media is a great way to get recognized and showcase your expertise online. It is a great platform to blog about topics relevant to your field, or comment on other articles to showcase your thought leadership. Even if you are not a writer you can always hire an editor to professionalize your content.

How to showcase your board work and expertise online

  • Use LinkedIn as a source of information and follow individuals who share content you find interesting.
  • Comment on articles written by people in your network and other thought leaders.
  • Find information about what matters to you and share it across your networks.
  • Use your website to keep your publications and board resume in one place.
  • Share your LinkedIn profile link with new and existing contacts.
  • Plan a schedule for sharing information at regular intervals.
  • Participate in LinkedIn group conversations and stay consistent with your personal brand.

To blog or not to blog

Blogging is a great option for those who like to write and can regularly produce engaging articles. Write about topics that you’ve spoken about or leverage materials that you’ve written in the past. Be mindful to avoid writing about things that are not relevant to your career/industry or don’t interest you, as this may come off as unauthentic.

A benefit of blogging is that all blog posts stay on your website, or LinkedIn profile, where people can read current and previous posts to get a full picture of your expertise and knowledge.  As a bonus, most online platforms have built in statistics tools that allow you to see which topics were of most interest to your audience. These tools help you be strategic as you plan future social media posts and communications.

Personal branding on and offline

Everything you write or say about yourself offline should be consistent across your social media. If you are seeking a board position, for example, be clear about what you are looking for and state that in your LinkedIn summary. Elaborate on what value you bring to the table and write a statement about what you want to do for the next phase of your career. (Being consistent also includes keeping your online presence up-to-date!)

7 tips for connecting online

  1. Collect business cards and connect with those people on LinkedIn.
  2. Engage people online and follow up with an email or in person (if appropriate).
  3. Before a meeting or initial call, review their LinkedIn profile to get a better sense of their skills and expertise.
  4. Post your comments, updates and articles when most people are online; lunch time, early morning, between 4 and 5 pm, and on the weekends.
  5. Arrange with people in your network to comment on and share each other’s articles.
  6. Check in on your digital channels once a day if you have the time. If you don’t have time to invest, then try to check in as often as you can.
  7. If someone you don’t know invites you to connect, see what connections you have in common and use that to create rapport. Once connected, thank them and see where the conversation goes.

Remember to…
Make your LinkedIn profile standout by talking about your personality and how you added value to various roles. If you hire someone else to write for you, ensure that your voice is authentic by proofreading approving everything before it goes out.

Popular digital media tools

LinkedIn–An excellent source to research industry trends, companies, organizations and people who you know or would like to connect with. LinkedIn is a must for your online strategy.

Twitter – Offers widespread exposure that enables you to easily share links back to your articles, and also share or “retweet” topics of interest to your own network. It takes time to develop a following, so be patient as you build up your audience.

Hootsuite – Scheduling posts ahead of time can be made easy with this tool that lets you line up content for platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and automatically releases them at specific dates and times you select. Be cautious about what you pre-program because some of them could turn out to be inappropriately timed due to world events.

Register for our upcoming workshop: Building Your LinkedIn Profile – Wednesday, June 15th, 2016.

Top 5 Tips to Help You Become Financially Literate to Serve on a Corporate Board

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Written by:
Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D
Corporate Director, Founder & CEO, Women Get On Board

Every Board member has a financial oversight role. Even if you don’t have financial expertise, you are still expected to have a level of financial literacy. 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 become financially literate for corporate boards:

  1. Develop a plan and begin the work. Begin by reviewing the annual filings of TSX listed companies that you are interested in.
  2. Look for 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 year to help you understand financials.
  3. Do your financial due diligence before joining corporate board. Review the annual audited financial statements, quarterly financials, Management, Discussion & Analysis (MD&A) and forecasts/budgets to understand the company’s financial position.
    Ask yourself with the following questions:
    ~Is the company solvent?
    ~Are they complying with their loan covenants?
    ~What is the company’s shareholdings structure, are there Related Party Transactions, what are the outstanding commitments?
    ~What is the status of their tax and other filing requirements?
    ~Did they receive a clean audit opinion? If not, why and is there a “going concern” note disclosure?
  4. Understand the basic financial concepts/principles and the various 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
  5. Understand the role of the board, of management and of the auditors in the financial reporting of a Corporation.

Getting financially literate takes time, focus and commitment.

Interested in Becoming Financially Literate? Registration is still open for Women Get On Board’s ‘Understanding Financials for Corporate Boards’ Workshop: http://bit.ly/UFWorkshop2Apr20

Don’t miss a chance to win a Free Board Planning Consultation from Women Get On Board!
Sign up for our mailing list, refer a new member, or become a Women Get On Board member before April 30th, 2016, and be entered automatically into a draw for the chance to win a free Board Planning consultation – a $500 value. Visit www.womengetonboard.ca to sign up, refer or become a member by April 30th, 2016!

 

 

Personal Branding to help reach the C-suite

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How do you get into a C-suite role? Do you navigate the politics and work hard? Do you take risks and pitch your own promotion? Do you streamline processes that saves millions of dollars? Do you manage a business unit? Sometimes it takes all of these plus more. Much more because the competition is fierce and only getting more competitive.

But the corporate team builders, creators and delegators of this world also have an edge and they use it to their full advantage: personal branding online. Yes, many of them make it a priority to get online.

After more than 10 years of working directly with CEOs and C-suite leaders, I have identified 5 personal branding characteristics they have in common:

– They articulate their strengths.

– They are consistent in their message.

– They deliver results and tell others about it.

– They work hard and go above and beyond.

– They get noticed.

All of these aspects of personal branding can be used online to amplify and speed up your own efforts for career advancement. How is it done? By promoting yourself online in a thoughtful and strategic way (often indirectly). Here are some strategies to help do the ground work for your personal brand online:

Articulate Your Strengths

What are you good at? What do you read that is work-related when you have a few minutes to yourself? What do people at work appreciate about you – and why do they refer you?

Once defined, articulate your strengths and gather specific examples:

– Instead of saying you are in internal communications, tell them you are a corporate writer who can inspire participation in company events.
– Instead of saying you are in HR, tell them you take policy and make it relevant to employees’ every day lives.
– Instead of saying you are an entrepreneur, tell them how your product or service creates change.

Write them down, then hone in on how you bring value. Make it memorable.

Online – what is out there right now that defines your strengths? How do you plan on reaching more people than your immediate circle of colleagues?

Be Consistent

No matter what the role, what you deliver consistently? What makes you dependable and trustworthy?

People who selected to advance are reliable, consistent and trustworthy – because someone else’s reputation is on the line if you are not a good fit for the role.

Online – do you present a consistent image that tells your story? Are you publishing content or speaking on a regular basis so people can get to know you and trust you?

Deliver Results and Tell Others

When you deliver on something significant, who notices? Do you tell anyone other than your team about your accomplishments? Do you schedule one on one meetings with your managers when you’ve completed a project? Or tell them that you’ve delivered value, saved costs or helped to grow your company?

Online – do you list your project or career accomplishments? Do you celebrate the wins in your working life?

Work Hard and Go Above and Beyond

Some will still say that the hours matter – but more importantly, how do you use those hours? Do you work hard to finish what you start and go beyond what was asked on your own time? How have you saved or made the company money this quarter? Have you delivered value to employees or helped morale? Did you volunteer for a committee in another department and gained some new work connections? Did you invite a client to an event, lunch or workshop on your dime?

Online – are you seen helping others, sharing information or answering questions?

Get Noticed

Many corporate executives in the C-suite will talk about an internal sponsor or champion who recommended they be considered for the top job (not a mentor, but a sponsor who knows your work and knows you would be a great fit!).

Attract potential sponsors by sharing your thought leadership. Thought leadership is your voice – your speaking engagements, your blog, your business community involvement, on topics relevant to your work environment.

Apply for awards if you haven’t yet been acknowledged within your company or industry – getting noticed means you must invest in yourself.

Online – websites, social networks and company intranets make it easy to share what is important to you to showcase your thought leadership. What are you participating in to get noticed?

Building your personal brand online has rewards that can come from the most unlikeliest of people and places. Take control of it and use it to advance your career into the C-suite.

Susan Varty is co-founder of Women Get On Board. She is a Digital Strategist and Corporate Writer with more than 10 years of experience working with individuals to showcase their accomplishments and thought leadership for career development.

Top 3 Tips for Building Your Board Profile

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Written by:
Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D
Corporate Director, Founder & CEO, Women Get On Board

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:

  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?

Building your Board profile is an ongoing process that takes time and takes focus. Good luck!

Interested in Getting Board-Ready? Registration is still open for Women Get On Board’s ‘How to get yourself on a Board’ workshop on March 30th:  http://bit.ly/March30Workshop

Don’t miss a chance to win a Free Board Planning Consultation from Women Get On Board!
Sign up for our mailing list, refer a new member, or become a Women Get On Board member before April 30th, 2016, and be entered automatically into a draw for the chance to win a free Board Planning consultation – a $500 value. Visit www.womengetonboard.ca to sign up, refer or become a member by April 30th, 2016!

Preparing for a Board Interview

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Written by:
Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D
Corporate Director, Founder & CEO, Women Get On Board

You have been asked to a board interview. Congratulations!  Now that you have landed the interview what do you need to do to prepare? A board interview is similar to job interview in that you want to put your best foot forward. Where board interviews differ is the preparation from a governance point of view rather than from a management viewpoint.

Top ten tips to help you prepare for a board interview

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Like a job interview, you want to come prepared to your
    board interview. Make sure you know what members of the Board you will be meeting with. Know their background, experience and skills. Find out who the independent board members are and what the ratio of executive to non-executive members is.
  2. Gain a strategic understanding of the company. What are the opportunities and challenges that the company is facing? Is the company going through transformational changes, or high-growth through acquisitions?
  3. Research, research, research. Do your due diligence. Go on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and read the company’s latest annual report, annual proxy circular, quarterly filings and press releases. Also check out the company’s social media and what is trending online about the company.
  4. Know your value proposition. What value-add you will bring to the board? For more information see my blog on Preparing Your Board Resume.
  5. Understand conflicts. Ask for their corporate calendar and make sure it doesn’t conflict with your other current boards — also ensure that you have the time to commit to this board. Are there other conflicts that you have to be concerned with like your current employer, financial or related parties?
  6. Understand the culture of the board. Where do you fit in? Look at the current board composition and their board diversity policy. What would it mean for you if you are being considered to be the “first” woman on the board? Ask questions about your fit. Find out how the board works together. Is it collegial? Does the board evaluate its own performance?
  7. What board committees exist? What committee(s) would you be considered to join?
  8. Know your expected contribution. Why did the company identify you as a board director candidate?
  9. Compensation. Review their board compensation in their annual proxy circular. Is there an expectation to purchase shares?  Is the compensation in line with your expectation? How often do they do a board compensation review?
  10. Practice, Practice, Practice.

If you are interested in learning more about preparing for board interviews and building your board profile, please sign up for Women Get On Board’s How to get yourself on a Board workshop on March 30, 2016: http://bit.ly/March30Workshop .

Refer a new member (or become a Women Get On Board member) before or on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2016, and be entered into a draw for the chance to win one free ticket to a Women Get On Board workshop of your choice – a $300 value. Email connect@womengetonboard.ca to refer someone or join Women Get On Board by March 8th, 2016!

Getting Involved in Your Community

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Giving back by serving on a Not-For-Profit (NFP) Board helps you to get involved in your community in a meaningful way. Not only can it be a very rewarding experience, it can help build your network by connecting you to new people and exposing you to new sectors and/or industries.  In addition, NFP Boards can be helpful in getting governance education.

In November 2015 we held our Getting Involved in Your Community Roundtable Event with moderator Lori O’Neill, Corporate Director and Growth Company Advisor, and panellists Rebecca Mooney, Vice President and Head of Brand and Marketing at RBC Wealth Management, and Elaine Roper, Corporate Director and President of Think Company Inc.

Here are some of their shared insights on serving on not-for-profit boards:

From volunteer to not-for-profit board member
Prepare by understanding what value you will bring. Then, let your network know that you’re interested in joining a NFP Board. Take board members out for coffee to get a feel for what their NFPBoard looks for and what the expectations are. Serving on a committee is also a good way to see how the board operates, their relationship with the organization’s management and for the board to assess your work style—a lot of NPF Boards consider their committee member for open positions.

Choosing the right Not-For-Profit board
Talk to current and past board members to see what the challenges, expectations and commitments are for their board role. Understand the organization’s financial situation and the fundraising events that they run. Use your network to evaluate NFP Board opportunities to make sure that you are a good fit and that you share the same values.

Your skill set
While an ICD.D or C.Dir designation is not essential for serving on a NFP Board, it can be beneficial from both an educational and networking perspective. NFP Boards are about skill sets and fit.  Knowing your value proposition helps to showcase your skills and fit to the board.

Fundraising
When you join a NPF Board, it is an unspoken expectation that you will bring your network with you. Some boards have a personal donation commitment and others have a fundraising commitment for their members. If you are not comfortable approaching your network you can offer to make introductions between the people you know who share your interests (including your company) and the organization.

How to exit gracefully
If you can no longer serve on the board the best way to approach your departure is honestly. Speak to the Chair and let them know the reason that you will be leaving. If your position has a set term limit don’t renew your term. Help ease the transition by looking for a successor in advance of your exit.

Tips for getting involved in your community

  1. Decide how much time you want to invest (the more involved you get the more time you will need to make time to commit).
  2. Know your own personal limits and don’t overextend yourself — chairing boards and committees is a massive undertaking.
  3. Set boundaries — if you are a good volunteer more will be asked of you.
  4. Do your best by giving back to organizations that you’re passionate about.
  5. Lend your skills to a different sector that you are not familiar with.
  6. Step up and play an active role. It’s not helpful to the board or to yourself if you can’t fulfil the role.

NFP Boards offer a great way to get involved in your community (especially if you’re new to the area), to learn about a new sector, to seek a new position, to expand your network, to meet new people and to develop new skills. When you do take on new board role, remember to take the time to get to know your fellow board members; they may have other board opportunities that you would be a great fit for!

Women Get On Board is a member-based company that connects, promotes and empowers women to corporate boards. We do this by hosting roundtable events, facilitating workshops and showcasing our members’ personal brands online. Sign up for our mailing list for exclusive events, news and insights.