Your Game Plan for Getting on Board

A step-by-step plan to joining a board

Today I am sharing some insights from presentation I gave to the South Australian Chartered Accountants Women’s Series.

The following is a series of steps that you can adopt as your ‘game plan’ for gaining your first (or second) board position, developed from my our board journey experience. Within two years of moving from Sydney to Adelaide I was invited to join two boards – one being a community bank and the other a NFP. Before gaining these directorships, I thought that my work experience and formal qualification was enough to get me on to a board. It wasn’t. The following steps worked for me to get me to where I am now (which has now increased to five board seats both here in Adelaide and in Sydney). I hope they will help you too.



Know What You’re Getting Into

As a director you’re responsible for the organisation as a whole. Understand that you have a high level of duty, responsibility, and accountability; you must make the necessary time commitments; and, a commitment  to continuous learning.






Practice the Qualities of Great Directors

1. High level of commitment | 2. Ability to lead and influence | 3. Invite a healthy level of candour | 4. They don’t make it personal | 5. They know which battles to fight | 6. Check their ego at the door | 7. Life-long learners





3 Join for the Right Reasons

Ego, lack of time, mal-aligned passion, and money are NOT the reasons to join a board. Career aspirations, philanthropic ambitions, and a desire to “give back” are more meaningful purposes.






Consider The Type of Organisation You Want To Join

Match your values and passions with your expertise. Consider organisations that are perfect to start your board career: Sporting Clubs; Charities, NFPs, Foundations; and Community Groups (e.g. Rotary).






Be Great at Your Day Job

Your qualifications, experience, key achievements, and any other notable achievements are not enough to get you a board seat, they are what you use to cement yourself as an ideal board candidate and showcase your potential and what you can bring to the board.





Let People Know

Make your board aspirations and intentions known. The “network economy” is strong at the board level.






Be prepared with a strong personal brand and elevator speech, fish where the fish are, stay connected, and never stop networking.


Be prepared with a strong personal brand and elevator speech; fish where the fish are; stay connected; and never stop networking.






8Prepare a Board CV

You are now pitching yourself to a higher level within the organisation. Keep that in mind when you tailor your board CV to the organisation. Keep your CV concise, and always remember to proof read! Use our template to prepare your board CV.





Join Board Registers

There are a number of registers that you can add your name to. It’s worth investing the time to add and keep your profile updated.







Consider Approaching Organisations Directly

This process can be a little tricky. Use a lot of tact and have a tonne of patience. Follow our process to ensure success.







Don’t wait until you join a board. Use a combination of formal and information professional and personal development activities (like joining a Get on Board group). And once you do get on a board, don’t stop learning.


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