part of our support for the UK wide focus on gender diversity, PSD’s Board
Practice recently hosted a forum to explore the various pathways for women to
Elizabeth McMeikan (click to see her LinkedIn
record) was the key note speaker and is an experienced
non-executive director having served on public and private boards across a
wide range of industries. She holds an impressive portfolio of non-executive
roles, chairing several Board Committees, and is currently the Senior
Independent Director of JD Wetherspoon Plc, a FTSE 250 company. She focused
her speech on four crucial stages in the journey to become a non-executive.
Planning, understanding your USPs, selecting the right role and
Planning and Preparation
- Understand your real
motivations. These may include life balance, more control of your time, the
opportunity to 'give something back', working with new sectors or simply
career advancement. However, make sure you consider the financial rewards and
your income requirements.
- Where do you need to develop skills to
ensure success? This may be achieved through bespoke courses, mentoring and
coaching. Speak to your mentor(s) and other non-executives to get their
opinion on where you could strengthen your skill set.
- Keep your end
goal in mind. There are different ways to progress with a non-executive role
and understanding where you want to take your career will help to focus your
learning and development.
- Reach out to your network. Head hunters,
mentors and other non-executives will be able to share roles, knowledge, and
provide valuable insight for a successful plural career.
your personal USPs
- Establish your USPs. Being clear on how they
can add value to a board is key, as your first appointment is likely to be
closely linked with the core experience of your career.
- Use your
emotional intelligence. Your role will be to influence and challenge in a
constructive way, and you will be at an advantage as females are often more
comfortable using emotional intelligence to judge the right outcome.
Selecting the right roles
- Don't be afraid to say no. Be
selective with your choice of roles and always ensure the role adds value to
your long term plan.
- Due diligence is very important. You should
ensure corporate governance and compliance is strong as these are the primary
responsibilities of the board and will reflect directly on your reputation
when you are considered for other roles.
- Are you suited to the
culture of the business you will be working in? Third sector businesses can
be steered by a greater social purpose meaning that working with these
boards is often very different to the commercial sector.
open-minded. Your first appointment may not be in sectors closely related to
your executive career, industries of particular personal interest or a third
sector with a more social purpose.
- Be realistic. Your transition to a plural career is a gradual process
and you will not be effective if you hold more than one non-executive post
whilst also in an executive role.
- Are you giving the transition
enough time? You will be working with a more complex framework of peers, and
potentially new sectors. Don't underestimate the amount of learning your new
role will require, as well as the emotional energy this will take up.
- Accept now that you may feel uncomfortable. It will take time for you to
settle into the role and understand the dynamics of the board and the
business. Work to understand how you need to adapt to ensure you succeed in
the role, professionally and personally.
- Being proactive is key.
Your personal development is important to ensure that you are progressing
with your plural career and succeeding in each role. This will take careful
planning, learning, and consideration.
" inspirational "
"Liz is an inspirational speaker and a great role model
" ....really sparked an interest
" ....enjoyed meeting other
Click here for more
information regarding our Board
Practice. If you would like to discuss the next step of your
career, please get in touch. We would be very happy to talk through your
aspirations and plans for the future. Click on the event contacts below to
access their contact details.
To keep updated on our latest news and
events please follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.