Moving into the Board Seat

Taking a board seat is often a logical next step for experienced marketers. Here’s how to make the most out of a board of director’s role.

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Boards of directors: They oversee executive performance, help steer the direction of the company, and ultimately play a significant role in an organization’s success. Each board member brings a unique benefit or perspective to the table. A background in marketing can be a significant asset in the search for a board seat. However, marketing directors and CMOs who take on a board of director’s role should consider its potential influence on a career and take steps to ensure they benefit. Here are a few factors to keep in mind.

Define your goals: Taking a board seat requires a significant amount of time and effort on your part. Be clear about your goals. What do you hope to gain from this opportunity? From higher leadership experience to broadening your network, there are numerous benefits to capture. Making sure you are clear on what you want to achieve will help you select the right opportunity and take advantage of the benefits it opens up.

Decide on compensation: Some board seats come with prestige. Others involve equity in the company. And others can carry compensation. Decide what type—or types—of compensation matter most to you. What can help you build long-term wealth? What offsets the time you’re spending? For example, if a board seat takes time away from a lucrative consulting gig, it may be essential to get monetary compensation. Knowing what you’re looking for will help you evaluate opportunities.

Outline what you bring to the table: As a marketing professional, your experience can open doors to in-demand board positions. Be clear about what you bring to the table. Options might include experience in certain industries or with certain types of companies. Maybe you’ve taken a company through a rebrand or experienced the ins and outs of a merger and acquisition.

Be clear about what you’ll give: Board members give their time and expertise to the companies they serve. However, they also often bring other things to the table. Some companies may expect you to help raise money or find investors. Others, to speak on their behalf at events or help them network to find investors, vendors, partners, and customers. How much of your brand and network are you willing to tap into for this experience? Defining this at the outset will help you choose a role that’s right for you and avoid any mismatched expectations.