Insights Blog

Five Ways to Advance Your Board Career While Sheltering in Place

We are living through a period of unprecedented change. The world that emerges after this pandemic will quite different from the one that we inhabited before it. For those of us with the luxury of free time and health, this prolonged pause in our normal routines may offer an opportunity to think about how we will emerge from the crisis, and to prepare ourselves to face that new world.

At times, crises can feel like they remove our sense of agency. However, as I've heard more times than I can count in the last two months, they are also an opportunity to reevaluate our goals. This is a time for reflection and readjustment, and we can take on tasks that reassert our agency, that help us reaffirm our sense of self. With that in mind, here are five things that you can do while sheltering in place at home to advance your board career.

  1. Organize your Board Bio, Linkedin Page, and/or Resume: Right now, when no one is hiring, it's a great time to be working on your own  story. I always find myself putting such tasks off for a "better" time,  but there is no better time than now to take stock of your accomplishments and plan for your future. That type of reflective thinking can help you separate yourself from the crowd. For more detailed advice on creating a Board Bio, check out this piece from Egon Zehnder.

  2. Consider organizations that can help you land a board seat: Organizations like BoardReady and Nurole work to place candidates with businesses that are looking for directors.  BoardReady's TalentVault is free to join and is the pool that we pull from when we're helping companies find board candidates. Meanwhile, firms like Athena Alliance and theBoardlist  help professional women meet one another, network, and learn about board service and how to access that elusive first board seat. Links and descriptions to these and other organizations are on BoardReady's Resources page.
  3. Network: Most board roles are filled from current directors' networks. With so much of the country working from home, now is a great time to reconnect  with old contacts and connect with new ones. Try setting up a virtual coffee or two each week.
  4. Think about how this pandemic might change the role of boards in general: In the wake of Covid-19, the role of boards will shift and change. The goal is not to predict how that role will shift with perfect accuracy, but instead to be able to acknowledge likely changes and to speak to them thoughtfully. Do you see  strategic implications for boards coming out of this crisis? The more knowledgeably you can discuss the changes that the pandemic will bring  about, the more valuable you will be as a board prospect.
  5. Consider your role in the diversity ecosystem: Whether as a candidate or board director, each of us has a part to play in creating a more diverse business environment: more representative of the diverse talent that we see every day in the workplace. For some of us, that will mean improving our own portfolios, while for others, it will mean advocating for someone else, helping another woman break into the C-Suite or Boardroom. We can all be champions for diversity, and this period is a good time to consider how we can best advocate for others.