Changing the Face of the Boardroom: Kea Dent
In this interview series, we take a look at life as a ‘non traditional’ board member and the benefits they bring to boards and organisations.
Today’s profile is Kea Dent. Kea is a pioneering leader in the medical devices industry. What inspires me about Kea is that she completely understands and can articulate her unique abilities, skills, and strengths and present them in a way that is meaningful to boards. I would recommend reading her profile for inspiration and then writing your own personal board skills statement.
Get on Board Australia (GOBA): What board(s) do you sit on?
Kea Dent (KD): Currently I am a member of the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) Advisory Committee.
GOBA: What is unique about you as a board member?
KD: Medical devices have been a major part of my life for more than 20 years. When I was 19 years old I began running a medical device manufacturing business, which exported products to 44 countries. I enjoy the diversity of devices, analysing and considering the benefits and risks posed by medical devices, as well as understanding the manufacturing processes, alongside ensuring product conformity. My unique expertise and managerial skills mean that I can provide considered and sound advice on all aspects associated with medical device manufacturing and supply.
My experience extends over the entire medical device life cycle, including final responsibility for ensuring product conformity, quality assurance (QA), quality control (QC) and regulatory affairs (RA) compliance for numerous medical devices. This includes Quality Management System (QMS) creation, implementation, maintenance, training and audits. I also have extensive experience in obtaining medical device regulatory certifications in European Union, United States, Canada and Australia.
GOBA: How did you get your board seat?
KD: Largely due to my specialist knowledge of medical device regulatory requirements.
GOBA: How does your uniqueness benefit the board / organisation?
KD: My ability to ‘read the play’ commercially has been developed first-hand as both a business owner of a successful international manufacturing exporting company and as a key stakeholder for a global business. I bring to boards a diversity of real-life business experiences and a capacity to assess growth, navigate operational challenges, pick up complex issues quickly, ask the right questions and contribute solutions.
I’m skilled at both strategic planning and the critical tactics needed for implementation: project management, market research, strategy development, and the consultation and negotiation with diverse international stakeholders. I am able to balance commercial opportunities, operational realities and market challenges with the constraints of complex global regulatory demands. I can offer vital advice to boards when developing market strategies by guiding considerations on how the product can be presented to the market and meet compliance requirements.
My interactions draw on strong interpersonal skills, an ability to listen and a track record of collaboration with colleagues and key stakeholders. I am experienced in recruiting, forming and managing teams and influencing people to create a harmonious and motivated culture. I can also apply agility, decisiveness and forward thinking to governance matters, business issues and board agendas.
GOBA: What has your experience on a board been like? Do you feel that your differences are a benefit or a hindrance?
KD: I have been on several advisory committees. My differences are definitely of benefit as my skills are highly specialised in a heavily regulated/complex area.
GOBA: What advice would you give to people in a similar situation to you?
KD: Ensure you are clear on your key expertise and associated strengths.
Connect with Kea on LinkedIn.
ABOUT CHANGING THE FACE OF THE BOARDROOM
Many times I am told by aspiring board members that they feel like they are not qualified for the boardroom, or that they have nothing to offer. Much of this self-opinion comes from the perception that is reinforced in messages about the boardroom; you have to be old, connected, conservative, and extremely educated to be on a board.
I call BS on this!
I am certain that there are many wonderful board members out there who don’t fit the traditional “pale and stale” stereotype of company directors / board members. People who came to the boardroom along the path less travelled, with a unique career background or because of some rare characteristic that has proved invaluable for an organisation.
I know they’re out there and I want to profile them to show aspiring directors that they do have something to offer. That the boardroom is somewhere they can thrive and give back; and that their uniqueness can have extraordinary value to an organisation. I want organisations and people everywhere to know it too.