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All on Board

Many aspiring General Counsel have board participation in their short or long-term career sight. But, how do you get there and what should you expect once you have a seat on a board? 

Enter, Lisa Chung AM and Peter Wilson, President and Chairperson of CPA Australia Ltd, two highly experienced and distinguished board leaders. Together, they have more than 30 years of professional board experience between them and there is not too much about strategic leadership they couldn’t speak about. That’s why we are thrilled that they will be sharing their profound knowledge in a session, at next month’s In-House Legal Virtual Conference.

Both Lisa and Peter agree that there are a range of pathway options to getting onto boards. Lisa Chung shares that “it’s all about your network...genuine relationships with people who have seen you operate or who can assess you based on other professional dealings with you, are key.  There may be opportunities through your existing role such as, as a subsidiary company executive director.” While some people recommend going onto a not-for-profit board as a starting point, Lisa disagrees with this unless you are genuinely committed to the purpose of the organisation and have an authentic reason for doing it other than getting board experience.

Lisa believes that is one of the real challenges people find themselves in when finding a board position that has the ‘right fit’. She suggests that extensive due diligence is essential, and to not solely rely on Google and reviewing the financial statements and annual reports. Instead, speak to every board member individually (if you can), and the CEO. Ask around your network. “Often people will say things that you won't find anywhere in writing.”

The pair often get asked, ‘what makes a good board?’ Other than having a balanced team with complementary skill sets, Lisa also suggests a good board is “collegiate, but questions and challenges one another in a constructive way. A good board is also respectful, collaborative and diverse! It is important to have board members from different walks of life and from different backgrounds who can bring their experiences to the role.”

This session will be facilitated by Sally Parrish from the Board Coaching Institute. A Board Coach and Board Consultant, with an equally impressive CV as both Lisa and Peter. In this 55 minute session, the three will discuss:

  • How a board role is completely different from an executive role,
  • How to understand exactly what value you bring to a board as a director,
  • Committing to the purpose of the company and the sector(s) it operates in, and
  • Developing a genuine interest in and commitment to the company 

If having a seat at the boardroom table is in your sights, this tell-all session is one you won’t want to miss.