For quite a long time, my goal had been to figure out, how I could get my first board role experience. I happened to tune in to a webcast that Heather was speaking on, and was interested in the approach that the Boardroom ready program offered. Having interacted with a number of boardroom situations in my day job, I was curious to experience it from the other side, as a board member and understand the different perspective. My goal from the program was to gain this experience and hopefully determine, if pursuing a full NED role in the future was something for me.
Did you gain what you were looking to achieve from the programme?
The program has been excellent, after engaging with Heather, I was quickly presented with opportunities of Board Observer roles to consider. Heather took the time to make sure that she was recommending potential roles that would be a good fit, and help meet some of the objectives we outlined in our discussions. It was very helpful, that Heather had such a good understanding of the companies she works with, and most importantly individuals on the board; this enabled her to find just the right fit for my first board experience.
I landed as a board advisor with M2A Media, and the fit seemed to be great, key was having a very engaged Chair and CEO, who valued the program and were very open to a newbie coming into the boardroom to learn.
I was positively surprised at how open and encouraging everyone was, to give input and comment in the meetings, and how I was urged to play and active part in the discussions. I think this was key to becoming settled, very quickly in this new situation. I was fortunate, with the environment and culture I was involved with, and this gave me great confidence to ‘jump in’ and where I felt I could add value, to do so. I had the added benefit of a kind offer form the Chairman to have regular not to one catch up sessions, to talk about either the board meetings or any other topics. I think I definitely felt ‘nurtured’ throughout the experience, and valued from day one.
What surprised you the most about the board experience?
It was an interesting time to join a board, as an observer. COVID had just hit, and it was interesting to see the decisions and strategies being considered to ensure the company stayed on strong footings through an unknown period ahead. I was surprised at the cantor and opens between the executive management and board members and how much value the management team took from the many boardroom discussions. I was surprised at how much I was encouraged to speak up, ask questions and get involved, despite being in an observer role. With great encouragement from all sides, it was possible to really get involved and find areas where I think I was able to add value.
What has proved the key takeaway for you to demonstrate back in your workplace?
I have presented to boards, as part of my role and it was interesting to be on the other side and how to change the thought process to be much more strategic. It is tough to avoid jumping into operational mode, but it was really challenging and interesting to find this balance.