Boardroom Bound

Finding the ideal board readiness program (and why you need one)

When it comes to landing a board role, who you know matters just as much as what you know. Board readiness programs should help you with both.

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“What do I need to do to become board-ready?”

That was the first question Ann Joyce asked herself as she started thinking about her post-CIO life last year. Inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame in 2019, Joyce was CIO at retail brands such as Aeropostale, Ralph Lauren and, most recently, Chico’s, where her executive role expanded to Chief Operating Officer before she left last spring.

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“I knew I wanted to educate myself,” she says of the board readiness research that eventually led her to Harvard Business School’s Corporate Director Certification program. Along with the high attendee ratings of this $12,500, five-day immersion on the Harvard campus in Cambridge, MA, Joyce was impressed by the advance prep work required of all the women enrolled in the course.

But it was the ongoing support and networking opportunities afterward that she most appreciated.

“The education is incredibly valuable, but the best part is having those deep conversations about real issues, and the relationships we build,” says the former CIO, whose IT background put her in the minority among the dozens of female business executives there.

Pick your price point

With rising demand for board diversity sweeping through public, private and nonprofit companies, the supply of board readiness offerings is abundant and growing.

The range of tuition, fees or membership dues is just as varied.

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