January 20, 2023

Board Director Branding Guide

About This Guide

Point Road Group's Board Director Branding Guide is a resource for those looking to optimize how they brand and position themselves for a board search.

Scroll or click on a topic below to find important guidance and informative resources.

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Introduction

  1. Understanding The Board Search
  2. Board Director Branding Basics
  3. Optimizing LinkedIn
  4. Sharpening Executive Presence
  5. Strengthening Virtual Communications
  6. Enhancing Board Candidacy (Certifications/Training & Nonprofit Service)
  7. Board Director Onboarding

Additional Resources


Introduction

 

Pursuing a board seat for the first time or adding another to your portfolio?

The board search process, as well as how you brand and position yourself, is different than how you do so for a job search. Understanding what goes into each will contribute to your success in landing one of the coveted seats at the table.

What's Key?

To stand out and show that you’re a strong board director candidate, it's critical that your executive brand sends the right message and creates the right impression.

Relying on the fact that you’re a successful C-suite executive is not enough.

You must be able to articulate why you want to serve on a board and what value you bring to the boardroom. Focus on things relating to corporate strategy, performance, creating shareholder value and governance. Highlight expertise in board-relevant areas like M&A, digital transformation, risk management, cybersecurity, succession planning and IPOs, to name a few. Communicate your deep industry knowledge, functional expertise and collaborative skills, while conveying executive presence.

Do Your Homework

While there are similarities, not all boards are the same. Understand the differences between public and private company boards, as well as advisory and nonprofit boards. Knowing their distinct purpose and how they function is critical for determining what's most realistic for you. From there, you can develop a targeted list of companies and people to network with when positioning yourself as a candidate.

There are many other factors to consider for your search as well, like:

  • Time commitment (meeting frequency, duration & location, committee participation & other requirements)
  • Compensation
  • Company ownership (private equity, family-owned, ESOP etc.)
  • Company mission, vision and values
  • Current board directors and executive leadership

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1. Understanding The Board Search

 

There are a variety of paths to the boardroom. You might learn about an opportunity from a board member, company executive or colleague, see a posting on a website or email -- or be contacted by someone in board/executive search.

When targeting your search, keep in mind that the nature of a board and its needs and expectations will vary based on many factors, such as company ownership, industry and size, current board makeup and where the company is headed.

Recruitment processes vary, but some factors are constant. Optimize your board search -- and understand what Nominating & Governance Committees, Executive Search Professionals, Business Owners and others look for -- so you stand out as a strong candidate for the opportunities that best align with your interests, expertise and background.

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2. Board Director Branding Basics

 

How others perceive you is influenced by your personal brand. This includes what you say and how you interact during conversations, meetings and interviews, LinkedIn presence, email habits, executive presence and more. The impressions people have of you impact opportunities -- including introductions, invitations and information sent your way.

Be sure to strengthen key aspects of your personal brand for the boardroom.

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3. Optimizing LinkedIn

 

A board-optimized LinkedIn profile improves credibility as a prospective candidate, increases visibility and drives opportunities. When you connect and communicate with those who interact with or serve on boards, as well as when you engage with content, it improves your reach and influence even more.

Explore how to get your LinkedIn profile in great shape and then level up your presence through strategic content engagement.

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4. Sharpening Executive Presence

 

Your executive presence -- the unique combination of personality and character traits -- influences relationships with colleagues and others in your network who may be important connections to support your board search.

Traits like your ability to deliver what you promise, manage cultural nuances, handle/solve problems, exude poise under pressure, show empathy and much more can impact your consideration as a board candidate.

Don't overlook these critical soft skills.

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5. Strengthening Virtual Communications

 

Excellent communication skills, including what you say, how you say it -- and how you listen -- are critical for board directors.

How well you connect with others begins with how you introduce yourself. Make an impact with an informative, warm and clear introduction that sets the right tone with people who can help with your board search.

Also keep in mind that board and committee meetings are no longer to limited to only being in-person at a conference table. As a candidate and director, you must be just as adept at communicating in virtual and hybrid settings.

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6. Enhancing Board Candidacy

 

Board certifications and training programs can be helpful for new and experienced directors alike. They're helpful for sharpening overall skills and in key specialty areas like governance, risk, cybersecurity and succession planning.

Similarly, nonprofit and advisory board service is a great opportunity to learn governance and gain board skills firsthand -- not to mention, network with others who are well-established in and well-connected to the for-profit board space.

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7. Board Director Onboarding

 

You accept a board seat -- congratulations! Welcome processes vary when joining a board, but should:

  • Cover introductions to fellow directors, management team, and critical contacts;
  • Provide an overview of processes, procedures and roles;
  • Review best practices for preparing for and participating in meetings;
  • Provide committees details and members;
  • Include all board and committee meeting dates and locations (if in person) and other critical dates to be aware of.

Done well, new director onboarding ensures members get up to speed more quickly and are set up for success.

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Need more help getting your executive brand board-ready?

 

Point Road Group's Board Director/Executive Branding Practice supports first-time and experienced directors of public and private companies as well as nonprofits and advisory boards. The practice is led by our Founder and CEO, Alyssa Gelbard, an expert in executive branding and frequent speaker on communicating your value and brand for a board search.

Contact us to learn more.

 

Editor's note: This guide was updated January 20, 2023. It was originally published in December 2021.

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