by Carrie Mathews

How to Land a Board Position

Jan 06, 20092 mins
IT Leadership

Three tactics to help you land a seat.

For those CIOs who seek to serve, there are several ways to go about snagging a board position.

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Joining the Board of Directors

CIO Advice for How to Get on the Board of Directors

Personal networks: Personal networks are the most common paths to board opportunities, according to the CIO Executive Council’s board survey. Butch Leonardson, senior VP and CIO at credit union BECU, serves on two boards: his alma mater Seattle University and a regional medical center. In both cases, he was approached to serve via his personal connections.

“Once you are on a board, your name is out there in annual reports and other collateral,” Leonardson notes. “You become part of the ‘board network,’ which brings new opportunities with it.”

Executive search firms: IDP Education CIO Michelle Beveridge used an executive search firm to find her board appointment, a common practice in Australia where she is based. The search firm matched her with a paid director position for the Historical Queen Victoria Women’s Center, a government body where she has served for nearly two years.

CIOs who have had non-IT experience, particularly P&L management, are attractive recruiter candidates for board positions, says Kerry Moynihan, managing director at executive recruiter ZRG. He notes that the bad economic times may be a great chance for CIOs to nab board positions since companies are often more focused on operational efficiency and may see a CIO’s experience with process optimization as suited to that need.

Formal board networking events and classes: Beveridge took advantage of formal networking events and attended a corporate governance class through the Australian Institute of Company Directors. A list of U.S.-based programs can be found at Change Leaders, a board-and CEO-training company.