Many people see non-executive roles as something you can only do after reaching the top in your executive career – we disagree! There is a huge variety of board roles out there and we strongly believe there is one that is right for you.
1. It’s never too soon to look for your first board
Boards should be an integral part of your career. A board role is a differentiator on your CV and will build your strategic capabilities and strengthen your performance in your day job. It can provide continuity if you need to take a career break for any reason, as the time commitment is less than a full-time executive role. And being a non-executive director, trustee or school governor is interesting, challenging and enables you to have a real impact in areas that are important to you.
2. You are probably more qualified than you think
Rowena Ironside, Chair of Women on Boards UK explains “It’s very common for young professionals to assume they have nothing to offer a board yet. This is the catch-22 that any aspiring board member faces; you need to understand the issues facing the board to become a successful candidate. Everyone has day-to-day competencies that they take for granted, but some of these will be highly valued on the right board. Good examples include understanding charity law or accounting standards, or being on top of the latest trends in digital marketing.”
3. Think of the network
Boards are inevitably composed of a cross section of people: younger people; older people; a variety of professionals; and members of the community that you would not normally encounter through your day job – particularly if you don’t do the client facing meetings. So take the opportunity a board offers to extend your strategic network and acquire sponsors along the way.