The good news for women business owners who are interested in honing their leadership by serving on boards is that organizations with female board members see very real benefits. A 2020 Harvard School of Public Health study found companies with the highest number of female directors on their boards had a 42% greater return on sales. Moreover, a 2021 Harvard Business Review article points out that banks with more women on their boards experience less fraud. If you are seeking a seat in the boardroom for yourself, here are some questions that can help:
What are your reasons for wanting to serve? Understand your “why” for pursuing board service to determine if you’re ready for the commitment.
What are the board duties and responsibilities? Know how a board operates and what your role and responsibilities will be, including any financial commitments.
What sectors or organizations match your experience? Board service typically aligns with your industry and company size. Non-profits are also great options to explore.
What value can you bring to a board? Be clear about the unique value you bring. Match your skills and experiences to the needs identified by the board.
Do you have a good board CV? This document presents your professional history through the lens of a board to position you as an experienced, strategic leader.
Who in your network can help? Search firms fill less than 15% of corporate board seats. The majority are filled through personal networks, so reach out to yours when you’re ready.
Could you impact other women business owners? NAWBO chapters are always seeking new board leaders, so consider the impact you might make for other women business owners like you.