How to Become an Executive Board Member: 7 Simple Steps

What does a board member do?

Board members have a fiduciary duty to drive an organization to become more sustainable. They are guided by bylaws to oversee and assure adequate operation within an organization.

Are you ready to become a board member?

The steps one must take in order to join a board has never been more intricate. Before you take the leap and start your journey towards being a board member, it is time to evaluate your skill set and see if you are both qualified and ready to join a board.

How to position yourself for a board seat?

Compose a list of what makes you vital to your company’s success. Pinpoint some skills and experiences that articulate how you bring value to an organization. Your unique selling proposition is something that will make you stand out from your competitors.

Do you have the time?

Joining a board is a big-time commitment. Make sure to have a plan set up at your current company for the times you will not be available. This is a long-term commitment, and you must plan accordingly. Make sure there is no conflict of duty. Internal support within your company is necessary for a smooth transition onto a board.

Do you have sufficient and relevant experience?

Do your research on current board members to see how your qualifications compare. While only a bachelor’s degree is required in applying to a board, be sure to include any executive committees or relevant experience that demonstrate you as a leader. To be elected to a board you will need to have an 80% approval by the board of governors. Create a rapport with members of the board to increase your chances of election. Check your network for any board members and set up a call to learn more about the board and exactly what they are looking for.

Finding your right match.

Each board has its way of operating based on the members in it. Like with any company you join there is already a set way of being established by the current members. Evaluating the method of how you work best can be crucial to which board you should apply for.

Companies are looking for members who will fit the company’s board culture to secure a suitable addition. Use the board’s culture and structure and the organization’s overall health to guide selection.

Executive Board in Brief

How does the board operate? The board’s responsibility is to provide regular checks and rate the overall success of the company’s current goals and their effectiveness. The mission serves as the main building block that gives the company its purpose. As a board member, you must regularly review the overall market strategy and any decisions that reflect the organization’s mission. Make sure that you agree with the mission of the organization since you will become an advocate and it will be part of your personal brand.

What is the framework for a successful board? Board members must be knowledgeable of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues as they are essential to a business and its future. It all comes back to long-term effective sustainability. Boards need to create a well-nurtured relationship with the company’s chief executive providing them with ample support and guidance. Communicate clearly with others, but most importantly, comprehension. Accurately interpreting and analyzing other board members catalyze ensuring best communication practices. Boardrooms take responsibility for looking beyond short-term value realization, so making sure everyone is on the same page is pivotal.

Steps to Becoming an Executive Board Member

1. How are you going to translate your experiences on a board bio, LinkedIn profile, and your board resume?

Build the bridge that communicates how your experiences tie in with their business. Experience in a management position can highlight your leadership abilities and creative problem-solving skills. Quantify your leadership impact with results to create a better snapshot of your accomplishments. Outline your capabilities by translating your existing experience and skills in a way that will grab attention. BlueSteps have expert resume writers and well-established advisors that can walk you through the process of creating board bios, updating your LinkedIn profile, and your board resume.

 

2. Enhance your personal brand?

Think about what you want your brand to be. Make sure you are visible online by updating your digital profile with any projects outside of your current role and being active with contributing to thought leadership pieces. Establish yourself as a leader in your profession by participating in public speaking events and publications. Try providing industry-based publications that can boost your reputation as a leader in your industry. Do not forget to comment on LinkedIn posts to which you can add value.

3. Network!

Define your elevator pitch to be well equipped for your next networking event. Impress potential board nomination committees with your stellar introduction and associate yourself as a leader in your industry. When attending conferences make conversation with leaders in your industry. Establish yourself by joining professional panels where you can contribute.

4. Identify a mentor or advisor.

An advisor can target the business that you are most appropriate for by calibrating yourself against their current board credentials. Gain effective feedback on all your materials and receive guidance on your application process. With BlueSteps you can seek advice from an experienced board member that can help you break down and evaluate the kind of board member do you want to be. We can connect you to a global team of expert career advisors for one-on-one support.

5. Why join a nonprofit board?

A great building block in amplifying your credentials as a future corporate board member is gaining a nonprofit or startup board seat. Sitting on any board will boost your credibility, enhance your credentials. In a Forbes interview with Elaine Eisenman, a founding member of Women Corporate Directors states that having any kind of board experience is seen to be critical to your foundation. She expands on how seeking a “Board of Trustees with fiduciary responsibilities” is greater than just joining an advisory board.

6. Look into attending board training sessions.

With a BlueSteps membership, you can attend a plethora of different webinars and even discuss your next career move with an advisor. Webinars are a great tool for learning new tools and putting those tools into action. What program will you be attending this month?

7. Research.

Before you apply, thoroughly research the company. Learn about open positions on their board and access all the qualifications of current board members to ensure they align with your own. Also, see if any are approaching retirement. Research annual earnings and performance. Check to see if any boards members are in your professional network. Ask yourself what gaps they are missing that your abilities can fill?

Times have changed for joining a boardroom. You no longer need to be a Chief Executive to land your seat in the executive boardroom. They have expanded on how to make a more efficient board by understanding the benefits of diversifying your board. Develop confidence in working on a board by building on the core skills and implementing them. Make sure you are leveraging the correct professional skills.

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Two people handing over their business card to network to join an executive board

Skills for inside the boardroom

  • Communicate professionally and clearly in all group settings. Promote transparency in the boardroom so that everyone’s remarks are included in the discussion.
  • Strategic thinking is significant in the everyday boardroom. You need to be ready to incorporate multiple perspectives while keeping the overall goal top of mind.
  • You must be able to collaborate with others and be able to also work independently.
  • As a Leader, you need to be able to empower others both on and off the board. Pass on your knowledge by mentoring new leaders. Becoming a mentor can give your exposure to how you efficiently delegate and inspire.

The main goal as a boardroom is to create a more sustainable future for the company by keeping everything regulated and reviewed. Even if you are not currently qualified to join a board the U.S. Bureau of Labor project statistics projects that the need for board members will increase by 4%. With the demand projected to increase it is important to follow the proper steps to position yourself for a future board seat. Still unsure if you are ready to take the next step in joining a board? Learn more about how BlueSteps can help you embark on your next career move.

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