This episode discusses the best tips for advisory boards and board of directors given by accomplished individuals having decades of experience in boardrooms across different industries.
Ginger Silverman is a 25-year veteran specializing in marketing and regeneration. She has served on multiple advisory boards and boards of directors for private, public and non-profit companies.
Ginger gives her perspective on advisory boards:
I just want to encourage anyone who doesn’t have a board of advisors to consider doing it sooner rather than later. It’s such a value add to the company and to have a sounding board of people you can trust who are smart and can contribute. Makes you less alone and I think that’s one of the emotional bonds, emotional handcuffs that many family-owned business owners feel is that they carry the world on their shoulders, and there’s no one to help. They’ve been doing this alone for so long. Well if you’ve got the right advisory board, you’re not alone, and you’ve got folks there that can and will have your back and that can actually help you get further into the future.
Marissa Levin is a renowned author, speaker, and expert on boards. Her TED talk ‘Women taking their place in the board room’ shares why there’s never been a better time to increase the number of women board members.
Marissa gives some advice on integrating new board members into the company:
When we bring in an advisory board into our company, our company is going to change. If we had all of the answers and everything we were doing was right, we wouldn’t need an advisory board, so I think it’s very important for the CEO and the executive team to have very honest and transparent communication with the entire organization. And when you were bringing in the advisory board into the company, what we did is we really made a conscious effort to associate them in. They would attend all hands meeting; they would attend social events like our holiday parties. Prior to when they came on we made sure that had business cards for them, they had their title of advisor or consultant, whatever they wanted it to have on the cards. So when they were out in public, they were really representing the brand and our company was on top of mind with them. And conversely, when we would have the advisory board meeting at our office, we always left it open for the employees for like the first half an hour, 45 minutes. Sometimes even an hour so that if the employees had questions for the advisors it gave them an opportunity to come in, or even if they just wanted to sit in.
Jeff Thompson has served on the board of directors for ten years at Edelbrock Corporation. He was responsible for all financial reporting and served as shareholder liaison. He was also a board member of the executive, compensation and audit committees.
It’s important that a company also have professional liability insurance for the board. If you become a member of a board that you make sure that the director’s insurance is in place. And the last thing and it’s just for everyone, it’s a very rewarding experience being a part of a board or an advisory board, and it allows you the opportunity to input your thoughts and ideas on how to adjust the company growing. And I urge anyone that’s thinking about it that they’d undertake the task. And if a company’s looking for board members or advisory boards, I think you have both because the advisory board is there to assist you and any help you can get and assistance, brainstorm or just go through thoughts and ideas and it’s just good for the company.
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