Real Tips for Really Getting a Seat at the Table

Four Do’s for Pursuing a Board Seat  

Last week I shared my excitement about joining the Board of Governor’s for the Skyline Club where I am a member. As promised, today I’d like to add a few tips-some a bit different than what you might expect- about how you, too, can land a board seat or become a corporate director. Sky is the limit!

Four Do’s for Pursuing a Board Seat  

1.  Do Demonstrate Value
A great place to start, especially if you are younger or new to an area or organization, is to demonstrate value. I don’t believe board seats should be the realm only of the experienced. Honestly, I’ve facilitated meetings where the members were so stale that the bread on the luncheon sandwiches was molding just by being in their midst. The best boards are a mix of years of service, gender, professional backgrounds, and other factors. So, if you are already part of an organization where you see a desire to serve on the board, get engaged. Go the extra mile to show what you can do – without expecting an immediate return. The key is true value and consistency.

2. Do Work up a Fabulous Resume (and Bio, and Intro, and CV)
Got a resume? That’s nice; who doesn’t? Go the extra mile and have that resume extra sharp, even if it means paying someone to freshen it up. But, a resume is just so ‘job application’. Got farther! Have a great long bio, short bio, speaker/facilitator introduction, and detailed CV (curriculum vitae), yes, even if you are younger. Also, have a professional headshot that is up to date and a couple high quality casual photos that are ‘casual professional’. You know, pictures of you doing something fun or in your free time that is posed enough to be polished but casual enough to show your fun and unique side. Having these ready to contribute when you are adding value (see above) will enhance that image of a consummate professional that you are looking to craft!

3.  Do Learn How to Serve on a Board
“Join the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD),” writes Laura Fries for “As long as you serve as a director on a board — even a local not-for-profit — you can join NACD. As a member, you will be assigned your own personal advisor, receive a variety of benefits and be able to network with other board directors.” Wow. That’s an interesting idea to learn more even as you start out in your career in board service. There are also organizations like and  -an organization representing women that are directors of publicly traded companies or family businesses with revenues of $200 million or more. Hey, why are you thinking small?

4. Do Decide What Organization You Want and Pursue It!
Actually, taking your ideas about board service to the next level is really about developing a habit.  Pick an organization early on –even better if it is a stretch goal to see yourself at the table – and run at it. Why wouldn’t you pursue any goal of value with dedication and clarity? Board service should involve some sacrifice and be worth it to you and your sense of purpose. If not, it’s just another resume builder and that’s not what I’m talking about here! Because, as you know, its all about being a pro.



ACT Like A Pro Out There!

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