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Direct from the AICD Boardroom report, tips for aspiring woman directors

The Australian Institute of Company Directors Boardroom Report recently published their 8th Volume and the opening article was “Tips for Aspiring Women’s Directors”. There is definitely an increasing amount of conversation, articles and insights being shared about gender diversity, hopefully the ASX guideline changes was the tipping point for the business community to face our woeful female representation head on. You can find a range of director specific resources and great articles, and become a member here.

One insight from the article:

Catherine Brenner, a director of Coca Cola Amatil, AMP, Centennial Coal and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, said good advice once given to her by an experienced chairman was to “write down what I thought I could bring to a board, what my strengths were and what my weaknesses were and then to finesse this into words and think about the issues”.

This, she said, enabled her to sell herself much more effectively when approached for board positions. “I could position what I could bring to the boardroom and have the confidence that I could articulate it properly and sell myself well,” she told the audience. “It sounds very simple, but it’s well worth the time.”

Brenner’s own advice for women hoping to secure more directorships was to approach the task like they would other aspects of business such as winning a new client or securing a transaction. “You have to present a business case for you and argue it in the same way you would for your business. You are selling yourself. I found it much easier to do it that way and I would suggest that you would probably come up with a better representation of yourself if you look at it almost through third party eyes.”

So women, what are we waiting for? If you think you’re board ready, work out your business case and how to sell yourself. And get networking, because the article also quotes David Pumphrey, from the board recruitment consultant company Heidrick and Struggles saying that 55-60% of board appointments involved headhunters. Which means that 45-40% aren’t and come from your existing connections and reputation.


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