Boardroom Bound

4 strategies for board presentation success

Veteran execs share their best advice on understanding the mindset of the board.

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Ask any CIO about that very first time presenting to the board, and you’ll hear a deep sigh of relief that it’s in the past. 

“When I worked at a publicly traded company, I referred to board presentations as my personal professional development opportunity, because I learned from each experience,” recalls Diane Schwarz, chief digital and information officer of Hunt Consolidated in Dallas. She credits her former boss with boosting her confidence for her inaugural board presentation on cybersecurity by reminding her: “You know far more about this topic than any of them.”

Yet presenting to the board is something of “role reversal” for CIOs used to spending their time meeting with their teams or interacting with peers, adds Schwarz, who served as CIO at Textron before her current role. “In the boardroom, you are presenting to a highly prestigious group of experienced executives. It’s a very structured meeting in which you participate only during your section on the agenda.”

Her advice: Join the meeting with a different mindset. “It’s not a collaboration session. You’re reporting up and out on aspects of your enterprise responsibilities.”

Here, Schwarz and other veteran execs share their best advice for boardroom success.

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