Tips on How to Get Appointed to a Public Sector Board

 Highlights from ‘The Public Board Appointment Process, a Women Get On Board event co-hosted by Welch LLP, was held on February 8, 2017. The event featured Audrey Wubbenhorst of Build Toronto and Elke Rubach of Rubach Wealth as panellists and Paul Gryglewicz of Global Governance Advisors as moderator. Each of the panellists provided their own insights and perspective into the public sector board appointment process.

A public sector board is a group of directors appointed to provide oversight and guidance to public sector organizations at the federal, provincial or municipal level. For example, these organizations include crown corporations agencies and committees.

Serving on a public sector board allows you to contribute to your community, as well as provide meaningful professional growth in your career. It can also help you extend your personal network.

As an aspiring public sector board member, the best thing to do is: go ahead and apply!

One place to start is to visit the City of Toronto Public Appointment website.

What you need to know about public sector boards

 Appointment process for the City of Toronto: 

  • It may take 6 months or more between applying and being invited for an interview, so don’t be discouraged. Instead, continue applying to relevant board opportunities.
  • The panel interview typically consists of 6 questions to be answered in 20 minutes. To succeed, you will need to come prepared to state your value proposition.
  • Applications are vetted and ranked using a transparent and standardized process.

Dynamics of public sector boards: 

  • While there are set terms for most public appointments, the government in power and election cycles often have an effect on public sector boards.
  • Both city councillors and citizens may serve on municipal boards. It is important to understand the board composition in your due diligence.
  • Being on a public board in the media spotlight can bring unexpected visibility for new appointees.

How to get appointed to a public sector board: 

  • Due diligence: research and review of board information that is publicly available, such as meeting minutes and attending public sector board meetings that are open to the public.
  • Apply: If you have the skill set they are seeking, apply online. Remember, you can be appointed to only one public sector board at a time, but you can apply to all that interest you.

In summary, it takes time and effort to get appointed to a public sector board.  While the dynamics are different from corporate and not-for-profit boards, serving on a public sector board allows you to gain significant board experience and make a meaningful positive impact in your community. Public sector boards welcome applications from diverse candidates!

If you’d like to launch your board career by serving on your municipal or a provincial board, register for Women Get On Board’s workshop ‘How to get yourself on a board’ on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

Written by Nat Korol of Hyphen Co., an affiliate partner of Women Get On Board.