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Get into the boardroom, faster

At Mentorloop we’re seeing first hand the emergence of a new kind of worklife. A worklife made up of not one job – not even one career – but of different roles and opportunities, part-time, permanent, side-hustle, up-skilling, self-starting – sometimes all managed simultaneously.

The old linear career progression is being phased out, and we’re now operating more and more as creative freelancers. If you’re building this type of career then it’s inevitable that you’d consider joining a company board, or even an advisory board.

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For Women In Particular Board Seats Are Having A Moment. 

Traditional boards are looking to diversify their point of view, startup companies are hungry for domain or deep industry experience among their advisors, and it’s never too early to start considering whether boards are for you – and forming a strategy to find a board position that resonates.

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Mentors can help. 

If you’ve connected with a more senior person in a formal or informal mentoring relationship, they can help you navigate the progression to board director, as well as hook you up with introductions to directors who might be on the hunt for fresh board talent.

A good place to start is with advisory positions, or unpaid board seats, to get a better idea of what you can offer, as well as build on your practical experience in the boardroom. As you progress, you might want to consider some company director’s training – e.g. in Australia the AICD’s Company Directors courses.

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As a founder I’m on the board of my company, Mentorloop, but haven’t ventured beyond that. So I asked my mentor, Lainie Tayler, Founder of HR Squad and non-exec director across 3 boards, to demystify the board for us!

What made you decide to start getting board appointments?

Two reasons. Firstly, I was looking at my career development long-term and felt the diversity of a board, it’s experience, and also the organisation would accelerate my growth in terms of breadth of experience commercially.  I didn’t really give any thought to my age, that was irrelevant. I thought I had something to offer.

Secondly, I was keen to support not-for profit as well as private enterprise. But the diversification of being on a not-for profit to satisfy some personal motivators, and learn something new was appealing.

How did you first go about it?

I simply joined Women on Boards and started applying, I was picky and I picked up my first board role with HerSpace very quickly.

Did the motivation to join a board just occur to you, or did someone put the idea in your head?

I am very purposeful about my career, and this was always in my plan. However I do believe we have a way to go to equality of representation on boards, so I have assisted others to consider this route.

What do you love most about it?

Board is about great governance and support, it doesn’t come without its risk, I guess I enjoy the long term focus and strategy a board provides

How do your board roles inform / influence your other positions, and vice-versa?

They provide me with diverse connections and experiences which allow me to be better in my own business.  I have more experiences to draw on and it absolutely helps with my credibility.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Women should be absolutely looking at board positions much earlier in their careers. The stereotypical board (long successful career = board member) is a thing of the past.

If you’re interested in learning more about board positions, Women on Boards is a good place to start. If you’re interested in finding a mentor or peer who can help you navigate the board space, register for a demo with Mentorloop today.

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Lucy is the Co-founder and CEO of Mentorloop.

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