Serving on a board can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a career. As a board member you get an inside look into how another company operates. You also have the opportunity to experience other viewpoints from talented individuals, and to discover ideas you can take back to your business.
Given the benefits, it should come as no surprise that many well-qualified leaders seek a board position. So how do you differentiate yourself? Below we’ll take a look at 5 ways to strengthen your board search, and how to best position yourself for success.
1. Start with a startup or private board as your first step. Experience is a key component for joining a board, especially for public companies. Get that experience by finding a small company, startup, or community organization and learn how you can participate. Do not hide the fact you are seeking to gain experience and be honest about your timeline.
2. Personal branding is essential. Identify your values and skill set to find the company that best compliments your background. What are you known for and how would that benefit a particular board? Are you a marketing expert? Financial genius? Technology wiz? A board is a team effort, so determine where you can make the most contributions. After you discover what makes you valuable, then seek out new ways to grow those skills within your current organization.
3. Use your network. Personal connections are crucial to finding the right board seat for you. Make it known that you are interested in a public or private board seat. Make a list of the top relationships you have with high-ranking executives, and reach out to them for introductions to their CEOs or board members. Also, take advantage of events such as the CEO Connection Mid-Market Convention to foster valuable contacts.
4. Stay top-of-mind with recruiters. Make sure to maintain relationships with search firms. Although directly asking search organizations outright about specific boardroom opportunities is discouraged, recruiters will come to you when they are aware of your interest and your background is a good match for a particular board seat.
5. Use a professional organization. Many professional organizations, such as CEO Connection offer board director networking services. Consider participating in a CEO Connection “How to get on a Board Workshop” which is designed to provide tactical information and a plan on how to actively define, pursue, and get on your next board and how to add value once you are there.
“Finding a board seat is not the same as looking for your next job post,” explains Board Connection Director, Kate Donnelly. “You need a personal action plan to define, pursue and acquire your board seat, as well as to ensure you add value once you’re there.”
About the CEOC Board Connection Program
The Board Connection Program is for members interested in serving on corporate boards, corporate advisory boards, or not-for-profit boards. This exclusive program helps our CEOs most effectively position themselves as desirable board candidates and provides exclusive resources to search for a board seat.
Participating CEOs have access to one-on-one support, intensive hands-on workshops, and mid-market community exposure.