Prepare and Position Yourself for Board Positions

When women leaders serve on boards of directors, they enhance their leadership skills, expand their sphere of influence and help companies generate stronger performance. Recent data from BofA Global Research found that companies with superior scores on workforce and board diversity had higher return on investment (ROI) and lower earnings risk than lower-ranked peers.
 
Although today still fewer than 25% of all board seats on the Russell 3000 are held by women, the rate at which women are being appointed to boards is growing. The 2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index showed that women represented 46% of the most recent class of new directors on S&P 500 boards. 
 
Women’s Foodservice Forum is pleased to announce a call for applications and nominations of qualified applicants to serve on its Board of Directors. “Serving on the WFF Board enables you to leverage your skills to impact our future direction, build your professional network by working closely with senior leaders from all segments of the Food Industry and grow your experience with high-profile strategic initiatives,” said WFF President & CEO, Therese Gearhart. We invite you to APPLY or nominate candidates by July 31,2021.
 
A wider opening
With expanding opportunities, especially within CPG and food retail companies that have stronger female representation on their boards, preparing for board service is a key consideration for every female leader’s professional development plans.
 
“Board service can significantly expand your exposure to different leadership styles, corporate cultures and business models, making it an excellent way to build competencies and experiences that stretch you beyond your current role,” said Salli Setta, immediate past Chair of the WFF Board and former President and Chief Concept Officer for Red Lobster. “As a trustee or board director, you not only contribute your expertise to the organizations you serve, but also gain new skills that help prepare you for what’s next in your career and new perspectives that can shape your professional goals moving forward.”
 
Get ready
Understanding what corporate boards and shareholders seek in new directors is a critical first step to matching your expertise and experience to appropriate board opportunities. Research from Spencer Stuart shows boards and shareholders most often seek directors with impressive career experience, who understand the board role as oversight rather than management, and have financial, industry, risk management or operational experience. Although sitting CEOs are the most highly sought-after for board seats, trends show greater recruitment of other senior executives as well.
“Positioning yourself for board leadership requires a broader perspective and different strategies than you might use for managing your advancement within your own organization,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer with Sysco Corporation and Treasurer of the WFF Board, Anita Zielinski. “That includes activities that raise your profile, establish you as a thought leader and build your personal brand, such as speaking at conferences and on panel events, attending industry networking events, authoring articles and using your LinkedIn profile as a platform to offer expert comment on key issues.”
 
Get noticed
As you continue to build a track record of professional expertise and success that will be valued by boards, you must also position yourself as a ready candidate. You will need a board-specific resume that highlights your unique value proposition, existing board experience and a career summary focused on broad areas of expertise and contribution. Then focus your search on companies where your skills and expertise will enable you to add significant value, while not putting yourself in an inappropriate position with a competitor.
 
It is also important to develop advocates and mentors among individuals currently serving on boards as current board members are frequently invited to serve on additional boards and are likely to suggest candidates for positions they decline. Women who currently serve as board directors within your own company may also be willing to be tapped to foster connections with and mentor senior women within the organization.
 
Adding value
Finally, remember that you will not only bring professional expertise to boards where you serve, but also distinctive insights and context with which to address critical business challenges and to assist the organization in its journey to greater gender equity.
 
“Serving as a director on both volunteer and corporate boards enables you to expand your professional skills and visibility in ways that accelerate career progress,” explained Chief Customer Officer for The Coca-Cola Company and Chair of the WFF Board of Directors, Kathleen Ciaramello. “You also bring unique perspectives that will help drive stronger organization performance, bring greater attention to gender equity issues and pave the way to greater opportunity for women working in that organization and other female directors.”

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