D&I FUTURE BOARD FORUM INITIATIVE
- Bridget Lea ~ Managing Director of Commercial, BT; NED Marston’s plc; Governor, Manchester University
- Lynne Weedall ~ SID, Dr Martens; SID, Treatt plc; NED, William Hill, NED Stagecoach plc.
- Cindy Butts ~ Chair, Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC); Commissioner, Criminal Cases Review Commission; Independent Member, House of Commons Speaker’s Committee; Independent Member, House of Lords Conduct Committee
- Kat Peeler ~ CEO, Eco Guar Group, former SVP Marketing, L’Oreal
- Meeta Zakharia ~ Head of HR & Inclusion, McDonald’s UK,
- Yetunde Hofmann ~ RemCo Chair, Treatt plc, Founder, Solaris
- Fran Minogue ~ Managing Partner, Clarity
- Ash Hobkinson ~ Partner, Clarity
Making the Move to the Boardroom
As headhunters, one of the questions we are most frequently asked is how high performing executives can prepare for, and execute, a move to the Boardroom. The answer is multifaceted, and we were thrilled to have facilitated a brilliant conversation led by two people who have successful made the transition – Lynne Weedall and Bridget Lea.
Our discussion was wide ranging and focused initially on Lynne and Bridget’s own personal experience before moving to look at the step’s executives can take to prepare themselves for a non-executive role.
Key themes included:
Understanding the NED role: It is important to fully understand the purpose of a NED role within a business. NEDs need to have an in-depth knowledge of a business and maintain strong relationships internally but should only step in when necessary; the executive team should be making and enacting key decisions.
Governance Experience: Gaining governance experience is crucial to securing an NED role. If possible, ask to chair internal projects, groups or supervisory boards and look to the third/public sector for Trustee roles which can provide invaluable experience for a first time NED.
Network: While gaining a Board role is no longer just about who you know, networking with other NEDs and Chair can still be mutually beneficial.
Present Yourself as a NED: It is crucial to have a separate non-executive CV which should act as your calling card and highlight core skills and experiences.
Choosing a Board: While it is important to have an active interest in the sector/focus of a business of which you are considering joining the board, the most important consideration should the people around you. When the going gets tough, are these the people you want to solve a problem with? A strong Chair can provide challenge and support in equal measure, which can ultimately make an NED much more fulfilling.
Bring Yourself to the Board: Being different to your peers around the board table ‘brings challenges,’ but having a vested interest in D&I (as well as other topics) is invaluable to any successful modern business.
You don’t need to have all the Answers: It is okay to ask questions and a strong NED will challenge when they don’t fully understand discussions. Being a successful NED requires courage, but both our speakers agreed that ‘you get better with age’ on a Board.