Professor of Information Systems & Technology Management, Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School
Corporate board director, Knock Inc. & CrowdBureau Inc.
Non-profit board director, California Technology Council
VIP Member, Women in the Boardroom
Charla’s Keys to Success:
- Take Women in the Boardroom’s advice regarding board networking
- Read through the board materials very early on
What made you decide that you wanted to become a corporate board member?
It was apparent that diversity at all leadership levels was fundamental for driving positive change particularly in the business world. I decided it was important to take on this responsibility and help positively influence the decision-making processes that drive much of our global, economic and even political and social activity.
What has surprised you about the reality of board service versus the expectations that you had coming in – in a positive or maybe not so positive way?
The most surprising thing about board service is the connections among the board members in making a positive difference through helping each other and helping the companies they serve. I was also surprised at how intense but enjoyable this type of work is as well as how much time it really takes to do it well.
Help, hindrance or both – how does board service complement your professional career?
Board service definitely makes me a better business professor, consultant, executive coach, and thought leader. Conversely, being a thought leader at a business school provides a great deal of unique cutting-edge insight for the boards and companies I have the privilege of serving. This type of insight comes from working with a broad group of executives and business practitioners daily across industries in the research I do and through the industry-collaborative teaching that is now an essential part of business education.
Tell us about your first year as a board director. Are there information, tips or suggestions you can share?
The first year was about developing a battle rhythm and getting to know the other board members as well as seeing the organization from the perspective of their strategic opportunities. I would recommend as a new board member to connect early with someone on the board to learn what you can from them and also find unique ways to contribute given your strengths and leverage those to enhance the company’s posture.
How do you feel you are making a difference as a board member?
Help as many people as possible make the connections they need to be successful. Networking is all about helping those around you. So share your knowledge and share your network. This will not only create stronger community but will ultimately ensure you connect with those you need to in order to achieve your goals.
What is the ONE essential piece of advice you’d give to other senior-level executive women who are on a journey to their first seat at the table?
I believe that providing new optics, thought leadership, and attention to detail (particularly financial details and risk) enable the companies I serve to make better decisions. I have also found that providing cyber risk expertise helps organizations not only protect their bottom-line but also enables new top-line opportunities for growth.
Charla Griffy-Brown’s Bio
Charla Griffy-Brown is an accomplished, multi-disciplined leader with 20-years of dedicated experience working with executives, boards and organizations to drive top-line growth with digital innovation. A seasoned board member, she has global experience working with executives, speaks Japanese and has extensive experience in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. She has helped executives and boards in privately and publicly traded firms increase sales and launch technology initiatives. Her expertise includes cyber security and she has served on audit, risk, and strategy committees.
Views From The Boardroom is an exclusive series from Women In The Boardroom, where corporate board directors share their experience, insight and wisdom and their view from the boardroom. Corporate board directors interested in participating should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions and experiences expressed by the interviewees do not necessarily reflect those of Women in the Boardroom.