If you’re new to Professionelle, you may not know that we have at times run training for women who wanted advice and encouragement to apply for governance roles from been-there-done-it senior women Board members. Here’s a story from a ‘graduate’ of those events, and it was wonderful to read it and learn we had played a small part in her later success.

 

By Jane Davel

In 2012, spurred on by the support of my mentors, I (finally) decided to act on my burning desire to become a board director. I had absolutely no idea how to go about it.

First Steps

I then learnt of an event being run by Galia and Sarah of Professionelle. It was called “Power Coaching Women onto Boards”, hosted at AUT Business School.  I went along.  Each woman who attended and wanted coaching was to give a two-minute speech about herself, and this was then critiqued by the panel of experienced female board directors.  I felt intimidated, wracked with nerves and completely out of my depth.

In 2013, Professionelle held a second event by the same name, this time hosted by Treasury, in Wellington. Again I went along, and had the opportunity to listen to the experiences of a different panel of accomplished female directors, as well as representatives from Treasury and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. They explained the processes for government roles.

Next, I undertook governance training through the Institute of Directors and four years later I gained my first board role on a Not For Profit (NFP) board.

Results

Fast forward to 2018 and I’m now on four boards.  I’m still in the early stages of my governance career, with much to learn.

Is it challenging, to work full-time and take on board roles, too?  Absolutely.

Is it rewarding?  Very much so.

Is it very different to being in an executive role? Yes, it is.

Considerations

If you are considering embarking on a board (governance) career, I would urge you to consider starting with a role on a NFP board.  The key, I think, is to ensure the organisation stands for a worthy cause. Pick one that you can be very supportive of and whose cause you believe strongly in.  That’s because, without that belief, you risk becoming resentful of the time and effort it takes.  And lastly, please don’t consider taking it on if you know you don’t have the time to commit – that would do the NFP a disservice and could impact on your reputation.

Tips for pursuing board roles:

  • Be patient
  • Persevere – take small steps
  • Do your homework and choose roles carefully
  • Take opportunities to learn
  • Have fun!

 

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