On March 9, 2010, the Metropolitan St. Louis Chapter and the St. Charles Chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, along with other local and national organizations, sponsored the St. Louis 2010 Women in the Boardroom Event at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront. Women in the Boardroom, formerly known as Women on Boards, is an executive leadership event designed to assist in the preparation of board service - better qualifying and connecting individuals with the right people and the right resources. The event featured an informative panel discussion of local women business leaders Beryl Raff (Chairman & CEO of Helzberg Diamonds), Gina Galgano Hoagland (President of Collaborative Strategies, Inc.) and Laura Herring (President & CEO of IMPACT Group). The event concluded with a networking, hors d'oeuvres and cocktail hour.
The panel addressed such issues as:
- The types of boards, including service on public company, private company and non-profit boards of directors.
- The use of advisory boards as a research, brainstorming and support tools for your company or organization.
- Questions that any prospective board member should ask before agreeing to serve on a board.
- The benefits and responsibilities of board service.
- Steps to take if you are interested in serving on a board.
In addition to discussing the mechanics of board service, the panel gave some insightful tips on how companies and organizations can effectively use board such as:
- Choose board members who offer expertise.
- Choose the best, most qualified person to serve.
- Use advisory boards to obtain expertise or information and to brainstorm ideas.
The panel also discussed the power of board service, including stories and anecdotes such as:
- How business generation is often based on two degrees of separation and how board service can increase your visibility, expand your network and give you the access necessary to develop new business.
- The power associated with board service including the expansion of your network and the leveraging the contacts and network of others who serve on boards with you.
- The business benefits derived from board service such as visibility and access.
The panel also provided some useful information to people who are asked to serve:
- Before agreeing to serve on a board, the prospective board member should identify what expertise they can offer to the company or organization.
- Before agreeing to serve, a prospective board member should verify the existence of D&O liability insurance, should determine the financial status of the company or organization and should clearly understand the time commitment, voting rights and fiduciary duties and responsibilities associated with board service. The prospective board member should also ask whether the company or organization provides board orientation or training for new board members.
- Before agreeing to serve, a prospective board member should determine whether the mission and vision of the company or organization is consistent with their interests, passion and core values.
- Before agreeing to serve, a prospective board member should research the company or organization as well as corporate officers and other board members.
- Prospective board members should be prepared and ready to give their time and resources and should commit to performing their duties from attendance to participation to getting others involved and more.
- Prospective board members should volunteer, work hard on their committees and bring in others to make a difference to the company or organization.
- Prospective board members should assess the needs of the company or organization and should be prepared to assist the company or organization by sharing their expertise, personal insights and network and contacts.
If you are interested in serving on a board for a public, private or non-profit company or organization, the panel offered the following suggestions:
- Prepare your bio for board service noting experience in serving on boards, expertise or insights that you can offer or contribute, and clearly articulated personal success stories.
- Use resources like www.boardlinkstl.org to find organizations looking for board members and volunteers.
- Leverage your network by letting your network know that you are interested in serving on a board.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for the position if you are interested in serving on a board.
- Find a mentor or coach who can assist you in locating board positions and can prepare you for leadership on a board.
- Obtain training on how to serve on boards.
If you are interested in contributing your time and expertise to the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, start today by contacting 2010 WCR-Metro STL President Elizabeth Robb at ERobb@RobbPartners.com to learn more about committee assignments currently available and future leadership opportunities.
Reprinted by Permission of Ryan Shaughnessy / The Lafayette Report - All Rights Reserved (2010).