Many people believe non-executive roles are something you do at the end of your career – we disagree! The huge variety of board roles out there – from local charities, to NHS trusts, to dynamic start-ups – require all types of skills and experience.
Getting into the boardroom early on brings benefits to you, your career and your employer. That’s not to mention the organisation whose board you contribute to.
- A board role allows you to build strategic leadership skills that you may not have the opportunity to in your day job. You have more to offer than you may think – an understanding of HR best-practice, accounting or digital marketing can be extremely valuable particularly to smaller organisations with limited resources.
“Despite not having reached senior management in my career thus far, I [was reassured] I had a lot of value to add as a board member given my marketing background.” Nicole Gajree, trustee PACE children’s charity
“It’s been stimulating and is developing my skills, especially when it’s taking me out of my comfort zone (quite often).” Claire Green PhD FCA, Treasurer to the Crystal Palace Festival Group CIC
It’s great for your own development and your boss gets a more confident and capable employee, keen and able to take on new challenges.
- Board roles boost career progression and resilience. Non-executive experience can give you an edge to get those stretch promotions – particularly important for those of us who are minorities (which still includes women at senior level). And as the time commitments can be quite flexible, a board role can also be an effective strategy to bridge a career break.
“[My board role] meant I was seen more as leadership material and won a promotion [internally] the following year” Rosi Petrova, Oracle
For your employer, this all adds up to improved staff retention and a more diverse talent pipeline coming up through the organisation.
- Think of the network and your community! Boards are composed of a cross-section of people bringing different professional expertise and life experience. Building broader networks is good for you personally and useful for your company.
“Being on these two boards … gives me more credibility and contacts in the sector.” Katie Lancaster, board member of BSA (Boarding Schools Association) and AGBIS (Association for Governors in Independent Schools).
A board is also a chance to pursue a passion or contribute to your community – look for a board of a sport you love, a charity you care about or a public service which has helped you.
And a company who values their wider contribution to the community is one clients admire and employees stick with.
Want to know more? Women on Boards is here to support your, or your employees’, career development, with a focus on board roles.
Take our quiz to see *live* non-executive vacancies tailored to your skills and interests.
Join us as an individual for practical help to get on a board; or as a company to gain in-house support and access to our thriving network. www.womenonboards.net
Claire is a former journalist and public relations manager who used her high-level advocacy skills to co-found Women on Boards in Australia.
She is a highly respected speaker on gender balance and related business issues, Claire an informed and entertaining presenter, a renowned networker and skilled at building relationships for common benefit. She became a Churchill Fellow in 2011 for her research into the effect of gender quotas on public listed company boards in Norway, the UK and France which led to the establishment of Women on Boards in the UK in 2012.
Claire is a director of the Central Coast Conservatorium (of Music), a past director of the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women and The Women’s Club and a graduate of the Benevolent Society’s Sydney Social Leadership Program.