Managing Partner at Rudder Capital
Board Director for WL Gore & Associates
Board Director for ICTS International
Board Director for Thesys Group
Gail’s Keys to Success:
- Differentiate yourself from other potential candidates by building sector & functional leadership experience.
- Target your communications to those companies that immediately understand your value.
What made you decide that you wanted to become a corporate board member?
I was looking for a way to continue to stay relevant post corporate life.
What steps did you take to prepare for the board interview process that benefited you most?
I read everything that was available including web sites, analyst reports, public filings, press releases and researched the industry sector.
How long did it take you to get your first corporate board seat after you started devoting time to the process?
5 years. The advice I give others is to set your expectations to a long time horizon and set aside a certain amount of hours each week to focus on the search.
How did you prepare – in every sense: emotionally, intellectually, practically – for your first board meeting and in what ways did that preparation pay off?
I read a year’s worth of reports, minutes and board packages and spent time with each director and senior manager in advance of the meeting. When I attended my first board meeting I felt I was able to add value.
What has surprised you about the reality of board service versus the expectations that you had coming in?
The feeling of satisfaction of sharing a career’s worth of learning and experience to add value and stay relevant.
How do you feel you are making a difference as a board member?
I like clarity. I believe my voice helps to define our challenges and possible approaches.
What one thing do you wish you knew before you started your board journey?
I wish I had started earlier. Once you leave the corporate world, you no longer carry the brand of your employer. Further, many search firms draw from the “seated” population.
Gail F. Lieberman has been serving as a board director and chair/member of audit, compensation & nominating/governance committees for public and private companies in the technology, life sciences, manufacturing, materials, security, financial services and utilities sectors.
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.