Nelda J. Connors — Founder & CEO at Pine Grove Holdings LLC, and Public Company Director, was recently a panelist at Boards and Business Diversity: Actionable Ways to be Better Than Before.
Having served on several boards herself, Nelda knows the ins and outs of choosing the right board, and getting noticed by the right people. Nelda gives advice on how to go about choosing the right board and doing the best you can for that board.
Watch what Nelda said in the video, or read excerpts below.
“When one is looking to serve on a board, I’ve had people say ‘when I retire I want to be a board member’. This is the wrong approach, and the wrong way of thinking about board service. Its an incredible responsibility to represent the shareholders, and one must be serious about the governance the role holds. To think about it as ‘what I do in retirement’ is not necessarily the way one should be thinking about it.
“I think the other thing is to be very thoughtful about what size of board, is it a global board or is it a domestic board? What size of board are you interested in? There’s plenty of fortune 1000 and fortune 2500 companies that need board members. Not everyone can be on a fortune 500 or a fortune 250, there’s just not that many seats and there is a great amount of talent. Serving on a smaller board is a great experience too. They have the same risk profile, they have the same succession issues, so you don’t learn any less on a smaller board. When you are looking, you need to be really deliberate about whether you want a global company, the size of the board, and the industry. Lastly, you should be thinking about what you will bring to that board. And be really thoughtful about what it is that ‘I am bringing’ because you are going to spend over a month with a board. Not all at the same time, but every quarter you’re spending several hours, whether you’re on committees, or in board meetings, or any external meetings that you might have with this group. And right now it’s all team and virtual but nonetheless, you’re spending that time with these people so you want to ensure you are doing a good job.
“I also believe in the power of the recruiter. There’s pretty much not a board that I have joined that hasn’t had a recruiting process. So I would strongly recommend and suggest that if you are interested in board service that you do know those recruiters who are focused primarily on board service. But again, if you’re a C-Suite or even you recently retired, also get to know those recruiters. But, if you’re still employed, of course you’re going to need your board or executor/CEOs permission to join that board. So those are some of the pointers that I have.”
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