April 7, 2015 — In January we heard from Sarah Raiss about how she helped her Women On Board®mentee, Sandra Stuart, craft a more effective board resume. This month, Sandra shares more of what she’s learned from Sarah and Women On Board® about making sure your new-and-improved profile gets seen.
Your board resume is the written equivalent of your 30-second elevator pitch, so it better be sharp! But now that you know how to craft an eye-catching profile, what are you going do with it?
First, you are going to want to see if you can get your profile in a high-traffic spot—for example, on Women On Board® and Diversity 50. These are rapidly becoming the “go-to” lists for many publicly listed companies, and they offer great contacts for capable, board-ready candidates. These lists are ideal for companies that want to progress quickly with their candidate selection. They support a do-it-yourself approach vis-à-vis boards that are clear on the attributes wanted in a prospective board member and prepared to invest the energy necessary to screen candidates personally.
You also need to make sure you have your bases covered. For those of us lucky enough to have been paired with a mentor through Women On Board®, take advantage of this relationship (as if you haven’t already!) to tap into their contacts at executive search firms. With your mentor’s referral and endorsement you will be amazed at how quickly doors open—which is precisely the point.
Next, remember to network! Don’t be afraid to name drop. Getting your profile at the top of a recruiter’s inbox is the goal. In my case, not only is Sarah helping to get me air time through Women On Board®, she has also taken the time to go through her virtual Rolodex and connect me with her personal contacts at every search firm she can think of.
The ball is now in my court to make the contacts—and make sure to follow up. Sarah has also offered to follow up and help me nudge certain people when required. In my experience, most search firms are interested in a collaborative discussion when identifying and screening profiles, so expect a longer timeline than is usual with the do-it-yourself approach.
Be patient! Searching for a board member is not like applying for a job; the timelines are often more fluid. And above all, stay positive. This process is all about making the right connections and finding the right board for you. Give it time to work!
On June 1, Sandra Stuart will be President and CEO of HSBC Canada. Congratulations from Catalyst, Sandra!