So, you want to be on a Board of Directors?

Women Get on Board

Want to join a board of directors? Here’s a handy checklist prepared by our collaborators at Women Get On Board to help you on your board journey:

Many women want to serve on a board of directors. For some of us, it’s an opportunity to give back to a non-profit that’s making a difference in our community, our country or even on the global stage. For others, it’s a chance to bring the experience and acumen we’ve developed in our own professional fields to a corporate board table, where we can hope to make a difference to that company’s success.  

The first step, though, is determining what a board commitment entails – because it’s usually more than you think. Women Get On Board suggests that you ask yourself the ten questions below, which will determine your readiness for serving on a corporate board. And remember, if you don’t answer yes to all of the questions, it doesn’t mean you can’t put your name forward for a board seat. 

For instance, you may not have a professional designation, and you may not be solely responsible for finances in your own organization, but you may bring highly valuable expertise in another area, or you may contribute the kinds of soft skills and EQ that corporate boards are increasingly seeing as valuable.

So read on, and if you have thoughts on this or comments you’d like to share about your own path to board membership, let us know!

  1. Do you have a minimum of 10-15 years of experience in a senior executive role in the public, private, crown, or not-for-profit sectors?
  2. Are you prepared to commit at least 200 to 300 hours per year to a corporate board role?
  3. Do you have the support of your board of directors and senior executives to serve on a board? Refer to the WGOB e-guide on the benefits of serving on a corporate board to learn how to build this support.
  4. Do you have a formal governance certification or designation (C. Dir, ICD.D, CDI.D, GCB.D) from the Directors College, Institute of Corporate Directors, ACELLC, or Competent Boards)?
  5. Have you ever served on a board, either not-for-profit or for-profit?
  6. Are you a team player who understands that board dynamics are one of the most critical components of good governance?
  7. Do you fully understand a corporate director’s role, responsibility, and liability?
  8. Do you understand the difference between a board of directors’ role versus a management role?
  9. Do you have financial acumen — meaning that you read and understand financial statements? If you’re interested in boosting your financial skills, consider participating in the WGOB Financial Intelligence in the Boardroom Program.
  10. Do you have experience in critical areas of our changing world such as risk management, international markets, M&A, cyber security, digital media, AI, data governance, ESG, and sustainability?