On January 18th, Henman Performance Group hosted a breakfast for St. Louis’ top executives to explore the advice of area experts about how to acquire board positions. Here’s what they had to say:
Cathy Dunkin, CEO of Standing Partnership, a PR firm, opened the program with an explanation of the importance of not-for-profit boards as a logical first step in acquiring board experience. She advised potential members to do three things: be strategic, be selective, and be committed.
Cathy, like the other members of the panel, cautioned participants to inquire about both time and financial commitments. Many not-for-profit boards have clear expectations about donations and fund raising that potential members should understand. She suggested that when you’re invited to join a board, carefully research the group’s board packet, newsletter, and blogs, interview key leaders on the board, and ask about what problems they face.
Tom Phillips, the CEO of Weekends Only Furniture, addressed the challenges and rewards of advisory boards. For those who aspire to form advisory boards, he suggested finding one ideal candidate who can help recruit others. For those wanting to join advisory boards, he outlined several qualifications for “ideal” candidates:
- A current or former CEO of a company in a related industry
- Someone with experience in growing a company, especially in multi-states or multi-markets
- Availability between board meetings
- The willingness to make a 3-5 year commitment
- A person with related industry experience in brick-and-mortar, e-commerce sales, supply chain, etc.
Next, Thomas Bakewell, JD, CPA, and faculty member for the National Association of Corporate Directors, rounded out the discussion with some advice about the legal and time risks members face.
According to Tom, publicly traded boards call for, on the average, about two hundred hours a year. Greg Kozicz, the CEO of Alberici and current member of the Isle of Capri board, concurred that boards require about two hundred hours from their general members, but committee members and chairs of committees should expect to devote about one hundred additional hours.
Mr. Bakewell went on to explain that people can incur additional risks related to reputation, litigation, and finance. Read Tom’s explanations and other related articles at www.thomasbakewell.com.
Greg Kozicz offered that the critical characteristic of a most kinds of board member is a passion for economic development. He began to develop his enthusiasm in this arena through his community work in Canada. This fervor, coupled with his management experience, allows him to enjoy the “fun” aspects-contributing to the company’s growth-of serving on a publicly-traded board.
Attendees headed home with an action plan to write their bios, identify their differentiators, build their personal brands through speaking and writing, and learn finance.
For more information on the National Association of Corporate Directors, visit www.NACDonline.org. Their conference is excellent and their classes world class.