4 steps to becoming a board member
Want to know how to become a board member? Becoming a leader in your organisation takes more than just luck – it takes skill, experience, knowledge and hard work. So, if a company is headhunting you for a position on their board, it’s a sign that your dedication has been recognised. You’re now ready for the next step in your career!
Becoming a board member can accelerate your career and increase your standing within your industry. But unless you know how to get other board members’ attention, it can be easy for qualified, proficient professionals such as yourself to be overlooked.
A company’s board of directors makes influential decisions that protect its shareholders’ interests and affect business operations and resources. By learning more about the roles and duties of corporate board members, you can create a plan to get the position you want.
What is a board member?
A board member is a person or individual on a company’s board of directors. Often elected by the company’s stakeholders, the board of directors serves as an organisation’s governing body to guide, advise and operate the business. They also create company policies and oversee its managerial positions.
Some typical roles on a board of directors include:
- President or Board Chair – Supervises the company’s operations and collaborates with the CEO to ensure the organisation completes the board’s recommendations.
- Vice President or Vice Chair – Works closely with the president and acts on their behalf in their absence.
- Chairperson – Runs board meetings and leads the board of directors.
- Secretary – Records meeting minutes and maintains the meeting records. They also ensure that the board follows its by-laws – a system of rules adopted by the corporation to govern and regulate its members.
- Treasurer – Leads the finance committee and tracks the company’s finances.
What do board members do?
Your duties as a board member will depend on your specific role, but general responsibilities may include:
- Attending regular board meetings to stay informed of company activities
- Attending committee meetings and participating in votes
- Creating and enforcing a company mission statement and vision
- Voting to elect officers on a corporate board
- Setting and following policies for the board’s approval
- Making decisions on company policies
- Reviewing reports on the organisation’s activities and performance
What qualifications do I need to become a board member?
You do not need any specific qualifications to become a board member. The best boards are made up of people with a good mix of extensive skills. Because of this, many boards will seek out people with specific talents and expertise.
Some boards do reserve places for people with particular professional qualifications. For example, a hospital board may hold a spot for someone with a medical qualification.
However, all board members – with or without a qualification – must be:
- Over 18 years old
- Not insolvent or under administration
- Not disqualified under the group’s constitution or due to a breach of their duties.
How to become a board member in 4 steps
Step 1: Define your personal value proposition
A personal value proposition is a statement or letter detailing your skills, background or expertise – whatever makes you stand out to other board members as a strong candidate. This will give you a clear understanding of your value and demonstrate how your specific attributes can benefit the company.
Your personal value proposition will also inform the board members on what gaps – whether it’s practical skills, experience or knowledge – you can fill within the board of directors.
Step 2: Improve your education
While there is no set degree to become a board member, organisations and board directors will assess your initial suitability on your credentials and capabilities. This includes the industry knowledge you have acquired throughout your career and your understanding of what a board member does.
Improve your certifications by applying for one of our specialised MBAs. These hyper-focused programs increase your knowledge and make you an industry expert. Our MBA allows you to specialise in several key fields:
- MBA Entrepreneurial Management – Develop your entrepreneurial and business consulting skills and product and service design abilities.
- MBA Finance – Cement your position as a leader in the finance sector, or become a financial specialist in your industry.
- MBA Marketing Management – Move into more senior management roles and improve your company’s marketing strategy.
- MBA Human Resource Management – Advance your career in HR as a valuable strategic partner to your business.
- MBA Logistics and Supply Chain Management – Perfect for managers and change leaders looking for a high-impact career in supply chain management.
Step 3: Nurture your personal connections and network with new people
Networking is a genuine and effective way to meet current board members and build professional relationships. These relationships can result in mentorship opportunities or even inform you when there is an open position on a board, So take the time to research board members in your industry and join organisations where they actively contribute.
However, personal connections are far more effective when it comes to attracting the attention of a board member, so don’t forget to nurture the relationships you already have.
Step 4: Build your personal brand
Self-promotion and building your personal brand go hand in hand. Not only does it help you stand out from other candidates for board positions, but it also establishes you as a leader in your industry. You can build your personal brand by:
- Posting regularly on LinkedIn – this includes writing articles and contributing to LinkedIn groups.
- Speaking at public events such as conferences and seminars.
- Creating a professional website that details your accomplishments.
- Sharing your work on networking websites and social media groups.
Australian Institute of Business (AIB) is a registered higher education provider with high-quality tertiary programs for busy working adults, including Australia’s most popular MBA, the Fast-Track MBA. Accelerate your career and learn how to become a board member through our flexible and internationally recognised degrees.