Six steps to getting board-ready

Six steps to getting board-ready

A new resource from CPA Canada provides members with advice on preparing for a board role. It states that board service is a journey that begins long before your first board position. Turn your mind to what you can do to prepare early in your career so that when the opportunity arises, you are well positioned to obtain a board role. Consider the following tips.

Build your network

  • Build a network of friends, associates and colleagues that respect you for your keen thinking and sound judgement.
  • Ensure you have a strong network of people that respect you and your work, as many board positions are filled through professional relationships and networking.

Get involved in board-related activities

  • Get yourself in front of a board and always put your best foot forward – be it through making presentations on transactions, audit findings, or whatever your area of expertise. The more exposure you have to board members, the better.

Promote yourself and your designation

  • Build a personal brand. Spend time thinking about what you are best at and how you can do it uniquely. Be open and
    confident about your skills and successes.
  • CPAs are uniquely positioned for board roles because of their financial acumen and business insight. Your designation is an asset, especially for Audit Committee roles, so don’t be shy about promoting your CPA.

Familiarize yourself with good governance practices

  • There isn’t one set of skills that boards look for. Good boards are intentionally made up of people with a variety of skill sets. An understanding of good governance practices, however, complements all of the other sought-after skills and is a way to set yourself apart.

Find a mentor and/or sponsor

  • Seek a respected board member who can help you hone your skills and eventually vouch for those skills – someone that you respect and is already on a corporate board.
  • Mentors can help you understand the time commitments and expectations of being on a board, and help you determine if a board opportunity is the right fit for you.

Join a not-for-profit board

  • While not a prerequisite for corporate board service, joining a not‑for-profit board is a good way to gain experience. Many of the skills are transferable to corporate boards, and it’s a good way to meet others who can vouch for the skills and value you can offer.
  • Before you commit, make sure you have the time and passion to dedicate

The resource is the latest addition to a collection of resources on good governance, which can all be viewed at cpacanada.ca/governance.

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