Women On Boards Series: What My Mentee is Doing Right—And You Can Too!

September 4, 2014Last month we introduced you to prospective board member Sandra Stuart. This month Sandra’s board sponsor, Sarah E. Raiss, explains what sets Sandra apart—and how you, too, can stand out from the crowd!

I am so pleased for this chance to talk about my wonderful Women On Board® mentee, Sandra Stuart, what she has done right, and what qualities set her apart as a board candidate.

Do the Right Things

Network effectivelySandra has networked in the most meaningful and effective way I know: by serving on nonprofit boards, cabinets, and advisory committees and contributing her expertise on issues she is passionate about. She has served on the United Way Cabinet and the University of British Columbia Sauder Business School Advisory Committee, to name just a couple. These are substantial, complex organizations run according to good governance practices.

Take on senior-level rolesSandra has risen through the ranks to the most senior levels of the companies she’s worked for, holding such positions as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer in large, global organizations.

Broaden your business experienceSandra has a high degree of exposure to critical areas such as real estate, procurement, project management, re-engineering, and finance, as well as deep expertise in information technology, an area in high demand given the cyber, security, data, and privacy issues most boards and organizations must contend with today.

Get board experienceSandra has already served on numerous boards, both for profit and nonprofit, and is currently a member of HSBC Bank Canada’s board. She has a head start in terms of board experience.

Define your value propositionFinally, Sandra has thought deeply about what it means to be a value-added board member. She has crafted her resume and bio to highlight her most board-relevant skills and experiences. She has also targeted specific industries and identified companies with boards to which she could add value.  

Sterling Qualities

I could go on and on about the outstanding qualities that Sandra brings to the boardroom, but that would make this blog way too long! So instead I will focus on the two I think are most important:

Sound judgmentSandra has very sound judgment. She has honed this through her broad exposure to various functions, wide-ranging and global company experience, and her risk-based thinking style. She has demonstrated this in her re-engineering work. 

Interpersonal skillsSandra also has remarkable interpersonal skills. She listens well and communicates succinctly, strategically, and purposefully. You’d be hard-pressed not to enjoy her energy and enthusiasm and the respectful way she challenges and brings out the best in her team.

I don’t hesitate to put Sandra’s name forward for the right board opportunities as I know firsthand how much she has to offer. It is a true privilege and pleasure to be Sandra's board sponsor and to know how successful she will continue to be in her career and when serving on boards in years to come!


The views expressed herein are solely those of the guest blogger and do not necessarily reflect those of Catalyst. Catalyst does not endorse any political candidates. The post and the comments are presented only for the purpose of informing the public.