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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 etc.
~Knowledge is power, so keep learning!
- 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.”
- Network, network, network.
~Go to events that matter to you and meet new people.
~Invite someone new out to lunch or coffee.
~Ask for introductions.
- Be visible — speak up and stand out.
~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.
- 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.
- 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.