Trustee at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
THE APPROACH THAT GOT ME MY FIRST NON-EXECUTIVE ROLE
“I’ve had investor director board roles previously in my private equity investment career. However the Trustee role at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, to which I was appointed in November 2019, is my first as an independent director. I hope it will be an auspicious start to building a NED portfolio.
There are a few strategies which I employed which I believe were critical to my success.
I got support.
I joined Women on Boards in December 2018. Women on Boards helped me tremendously with the board CV review and interview support calls. The user interface is very good and I’m impressed with the number of opportunities on offer every week.
I’ve been very selective
I have made only 3 applications in total. I carefully evaluate my chances before I spend the many hours in preparing my application, which includes a lot of reading up about the charity, the sector in which it operates, and what’s at stake for it.
I prepare thoroughly for the interview.
I find it useful to prepare a list of possible interview questions and to write up and rehearse the responses out loud. If the role stresses fundraising, it is good to do some preliminary research on potential donors and to write up your own experience in securing funding so that you can actually talk knowledgeably during the interview.
It is important to be as natural as possible during the interview.
One way which helps me to relax is to think that the interview is as much about your discovering whether you like them: ie the fit is a 2-way thing. In my pre-interview support, Rachel Tranter told me to “assume nothing”, and to be ready to introduce my whole CV right from the beginning. That was very good advice.
I anticipated a likely concern boards may have about me- and neutralised it!
I live and work in Paris and found that the people I interviewed with thought it was a long way from London, and therefore an impediment. I like to say, with humour, that it is in fact quicker by train from Paris to London than from Manchester or the South-West. This becomes a bit of an ice-breaker.
All in all, I’m very grateful to Women on Boards for the very meaningful role it plays in facilitating the entry of more women in the boardroom.