Comstock's magazine 0319 - March 2019 - Page 71

STILL GOT QUESTIONS? Visit or subscribe to our Action Items podcast to hear more on board-readiness from Kim Box, Diane Miller and other female executives. We’re also fielding questions via ilar on her LinkedIn page, cutting the length and collapsing her chronologi- cally listed executive roles into a narra- tive about what she’s done as a leader. Still, don’t count on a recruiter walk- ing you in the front door. Box says that though that connection helped her bet- ter market herself, board openings ar- en’t posted, so candidates are most of- ten selected on the basis of connections rather than through recruiters. (The group that actually does the selecting typically is the nominating or gover- nance committee, with shareholders voting on their recommendations.) Area experts all mention strategic networking as essential to getting into position, since many board directors are chosen through elite social net- works. “People on boards want others who they’ve worked with,” says Julie Reinganum, who coaches CEOs at Vi- stage International and has served on the boards of Hong Kong-based Jave- lin Investments and Texas-based The Bombay Company. Her connections were what got her invited to serve at the latter firm. The company was looking to expand internationally, and her con- tact on the inside recommended Rein- ganum on the grounds that she’d just sold her China-focused management consulting firm. Akers recommends volunteering with the Sacramento chapter of the Na- tional Association of Corporate Direc- tors, which is being reconstituted, with the help of NACD’s San Francisco chap- ter, after a period of relative dorman- cy. He says corporate advisory boards — which provide nonbinding advice to company leaders — also provide a good training ground, while nonprofit board service can facilitate the networking needed for a corporate director posi- tion in the future. But he cautions that nonprofit board service “isn’t as rele- vant to the technical skills — like un- derstanding industry-specific market segmentation, governance and organi- zational development — that will mat- ter in getting onto a corporate board.” And certain skills are in higher de- mand than others. Boards reliably need CPAs and attorneys, but Akers says that expertise in advertising and mar- keting are in particular demand now. And Miller says that half of searches for board candidates she’s seeing call for someone with a technical background. Some industries have more gender- diverse boards than others — Reinga- num points to retail as one. Current- ly, and perhaps counterintuitively, more-established firms boast more gender-diverse boards: One analysis last year of data on public companies found that firms that had recently held an initial public offering picked women for only 10 percent of their board seats — compared with 34 percent for the rest of the sample. Education and training also help, though there’s a big caveat. With SB 826 in place, it’s easy to be lured by the idea that continuing education and work- A national campaign for 20% women on corporate boards by 2020 UPCOMING EVENTS MAY 1 ST 8AM-1PM Get on Board! Workshop NOVEMBER 21 ST 8-11AM National Conversation on Board Diversity both events at THE SUTTER CLUB platinum sponsor register questions March 2019 | 73