The One Word To NEVER Use When Looking For Board Roles

By Michelle Gardiner

Published Date: 2019/02


When transitioning from executive life to a non executive director career, the word ‘retirement’ should not be part of your vocabulary.  Steve Boulton, a seasoned Director expressed the importance of avoiding being perceived as obsolete, “You’re in transition will suffice”, it is all part of a mindset shift when making the decision to transition out of your executive career.

With executives eager to drive their transition to a non executive career, Leeanne Bond, encourages pursuing an executive career in its entirety before transitioning to a non executive career. It is all too often that the valuable learnings gained from an executive career fall short by being too quick to transition. It is these valuable learnings that shape your value-add proposition to a board, increasing unique capability and skill set.

When planning your transition from executive life into a portfolio career it is important to keep in mind a board portfolio is a marathon not a sprint, often taking a couple years, building your experience on different boards as you go.

Our speakers spoke to the following insights:

  • Choose your boards carefully, being a successful board director does not necessarily mean having experience on an ASX200 board. There are a vast amount of interesting opportunities that exist outside the ASX200, including roles on private company boards, government roles and the for purpose sector.
  • Build up a track record and work your way up.
  • Ensure you are aligned with the appropriate professional bodies such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
  • Develop a target list and proactively chase the boards that best suit your skill set and interests.
  • Connect with people within your network that have a genuine interest in you, already sit on boards and have a similar set of skills to yours.
  • You also need a bit of luck - being in the right place at the right time helps. Opportunities beget further opportunities.
  • Be prepared for the possibility of rejection. Competition for NED roles is fierce and you may not be the perfect fit for a particular position. Have patience and be resilient.