In an article published this week,There Are Now More Fortune 500 Companies With All-Male Boards Than In 2015, they state, “Things look slightly better when you focus on the overall percentage of Fortune 500 board seats occupied by women: 21%, vs. 19.6% in 2015. The percentage of companies with just one female board member is down, now 22% vs. 28% last year.”
It is annoying, I know. The numbers do not seem to be improving, and depending on how you look at the numbers, they may even seem to be getting worse.
But if you know me, you know I do not focus on these reported numbers because they do not give the big picture. These reports focus on Fortune 500 companies and my good news for you is that there are thousands of other companies with boards of directors. Public and private companies. It is critical that you know what types of boards you are qualified to serve.
Have you asked yourself, “Is serving on a corporate board something I want to do? Am I qualified to serve?” If the answer is yes, here are some tips to help you get there:
- Know why you want to serve.
- Develop a plan of action.
- Have board documents that highlight your background for board positioning.
- Know your value proposition.
- Your personal brand is key. Make sure you have an excellent reputation in your main job and industry.
- Always bring your “A” game to whatever you do. People are watching!
- Educate yourself on board responsibilities.
- If you have no board experience consider hospital boards, government commissions/committees and/or talk with entrepreneurs you know and volunteer to serve on their advisory board.
- Be in it for the long haul. There is no quick way into the boardroom. How much time are you willing/able to dedicate each month to do the work that it takes? If you don’t have five hours per month to dedicate to it, don’t do it.
Lastly, and we hear it all the time, networking is your key to getting your seat at the table. But who you network with, how you reach out to them, what you say and how you maintain those relationships are critical.
If you would like to learn more, here is a complimentary webinar for you to check out called “Serving on a Corporate Board: Uncover if It’s for You & Where to Start”.