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Board of Directors

Most directors would describe their first non-executive board role as a major professional milestone, a terrific growth opportunity and something they are very glad they did, even though it represented a significant commitment. Given the demands of a board position — 20-30 days a year up to nine or more years — it pays to carefully weigh the pros and cons of a given opportunity. 

The executive career goal of becoming a board director is one that is both highly coveted and highly challenging to actualize. Board member positions offer directors the opportunity to use their wealth of experience to tackle intellectual business challenges and influence the success of a chosen company. Despite there being many routes into the boardroom, below are our universal top tips for better positioning yourself for new board opportunities:

Today, Board Members offer tremendous value in the corporate world; and I believe, for the most part, that there is a total disconnect between the value a Board Member brings to a company (i.e. depth and breadth of experience, industry knowledge, network, reputation and marquee value) and how they are compensated. Unfortunately, too few companies seek the brightest and best in recruiting board members. Instead, they tend to gravitate to using a limited network; like-thinking individuals; or are drawn solely to marquee names.
 

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of board directors, featuring Keith Pearson, from Pearson Partners International, and Jose Ruiz, from Alder Koten.

Some of the questions asked included:

In these contentious times, when almost every topic—even the weather—has become controversial, it is edifying to read about a merger that sailed through the shareholder approval process with near unanimity. On Tuesday, July 19, EMC shareholders voted overwhelmingly and without debate to approve a $62.3 billion merger into Dell, with 98 percent of votes affirming the deal, and almost as many approving golden parachute payments to EMC executives in the event of job loss post-closing. The deal received U.S. and European antitrust approval in February and is on track for approval from Chinese antitrust authorities in time for an October closing. The new company, Dell Technologies, to be chaired and led by Michael Dell, will be privately owned.

Columbia Business School, an AESC and BlueSteps partner, hosted an event on February 10, 2016 about preparing yourself for board leadership. This was moderated by Karen Greenbaum, President and CEO of the AESC. The panelists included Anthony Goodman, Member of Board Effectiveness Practice, Russell Reynolds Associates, Allan Grafman, President and CEO, All Media Ventures (AMV), Raji Kalra, CFO/CAO, The David Lynch Foundation and Gregory Lau, Managing Director, RSR Partners.

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of finding a board seat, featuring Andrew Kris, from Borderless, and Jose Ruiz, from Alder Koten.

Some of the questions asked included:

Each year, many executives across the world are drawn to the elusive world of the boardroom and begin their search for a board seat. Board work can be incredibly rewarding to those who pursue it, both in terms of the stimulating and fulfilling work itself and, of course, the financial reward.

When executives hit the top of the pyramid in their career, they may wonder, “Is that all there is?” One reasonable progression in an executive career is serving on the board of directors of a major public or non-profit company. A board of director’s position provides an outlet for experienced executives to continue to use their business knowledge.

Joining a corporate board can enhance an executive’s career in many ways. Board service can be a valuable opportunity to gain experience beyond your current company. Board-level roles can also serve as either a capstone to an already distinguished career or help position a rising executive for a CEO, CFO or COO role. However, obtaining a seat on a board of a company that interests you can be a lengthy and oftentimes challenging process.