Preparing For Board Service: One Woman's Story

Inside Americas Boardrooms
Every company will increase its focus on establishing a diverse board in the coming years. Gender diversity is one of the most visible types of board diversity, and it's been proven many times over that there is no shortage of qualified women. While board candidates can do little to ''prepare'', they can certainly take steps to ensure they're ready when that golden board opportunity comes along.

In this episode, Evette White, board member with Delta Dental of Tennessee, discusses her journey to the corporate boardroom:

''Preparation for board service does come from a career of leadership and accountabilities. You can't really teach that...'' said White. Yet, she explains how the Corporate Board Academy (a Nashville board preparation program supported by CABLE, Women Corporate Directors, and EY) introduced her, along with several other highly qualified women, to the nuances of board interviews, director responsibilities, and corporate board dynamics.

''We were all very accomplished business people, and this put us all in a vulnerable situation,'' said White. ''We're used to mentoring, and we were setting ourselves up to be mentored.''

In this episode, White talks about the preparation required to land her first board seat and outlines several best practices for other women and diverse candidates who are looking to do the same.

[blockquote source="Evette White, Board Member, Delta Dental of Tennessee"]While a corporate board seat is certainly a higher accountability, responsibility, and liability than a volunteer board seat, those volunteer board seats-in all those years that you participate and/or lead them throughout your career-are valuable in understanding the structure and the roles that the organization plays (i.e., CEO, chairman, director).[/blockquote]

With a slow rate of board turnover and age limits rising, qualified board candidates can't afford to waste a valuable board interview opportunity. We hope that other metropolitan areas will take note of the program that the Corporate Board Academy has developed and continue or emulate at a local scale.