Board Members in a meeting

So You Want to Be a Board Member

Here’s what you need to know.

So you think a board position may be just what you’re looking for, but you don’t know where to begin – right? It is common practice to make your starting point an industry that you have genuine interest in or where you have experience to bring to the table. To be effective on a board, the industry, company, and market space should excite you as you will be required to read and develop significant background knowledge about all the internal and external factors influencing the success of the organisation. 

It is also crucial to understand the differences between the various types of boards. Depending on what stage of development a company is at, the board requirements in skill and time commitment will differ greatly. No matter what type of organisation you are looking at, board members are there to represent the interests of the shareholders and support the management team. All types of organisations can have boards – from start-ups looking for expertise to help them get to the next stage and family businesses that are well-established to mid-level companies, large multinational corporations, and non-profits. In all cases, the board of directors is a highly regarded oversight committee. 

The Different Types of Boards for Firms at Different Stages of Development

Private Companies

In the case of for-profit companies, there are generally private boards i.e. boards that sit on private firms. These can include start-ups. When a company is new and the team and structure are not quite mature, it is considered a start-up. In a start-up company structure, the board commitment tends to be quite detail-oriented and hands-on. Board members are called on for their expertise and contacts, and often asked to be very involved. It is quite common for start-up boards to ask directors to invest in the firm or commit to fundraising to help finance the operation. 

board position

The more the organisation matures, the requirements of the boards differ and mature as well. For public companies, the board structure is much more formalised. These boards will usually look for guidance and support from board directors, and often require that you sit on a working committee. The general guidance for mature corporate boards is for the directors to take a guidance and oversight approach, and be ‘eyes in, and hands off’ with operational matters. 

A family business is also considered a private firm with boards. These firms will also have a varying degree of need from independent board directors. The special relationship with the board in these organisations requires managing and often navigating multigenerational family dynamics, where there is a strong emotional and historical investment in the firm.

Non-Profit Companies

On the other hand, non-profit organisations generally require much more time and support from their board directors. They need directors that are more involved in the day-to-day business affairs. Instead of being ‘hands off’ like corporate boards, non-profits want active board members who enthusiastically engage and influence the day-to-day activities of the organisation.

What Is ESG and Why Is It Important?

Boards help ensure that an organisation is well managed. In this day and age, that means a board that treats people the right way and engages in good business practises that benefit shareholders, stakeholders, and society as a whole. In recent times, the term ‘ESG’ – which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance considerations – has become extremely important on corporate boards. 

Environmental consideration relates to how the organisation’s practices contribute to environmental issues. The more thoughtful the consideration for the environment, the better. Often, this is referred to as sustainable practices. Social consideration relates to how the organisation treats employees, customers, suppliers, and society at large. Governance, meanwhile, is all about implementing clear, transparent frameworks and analytics supported by robust governance and operations structures. It is paramount for keeping the company true to its objectives and values. 

In recent times, the importance of ESG considerations has ballooned. It is used as a key investment marker for investors, and ESG data is often used to identify superior risk-adjusted returns versus a business poorly prepared for the future. Large investors have pulled large sums of financing and firms for ESG reasons. For example, Blackrock is one of the world’s largest investment management firms with over USD 6.84 trillion under management, and has recently made strong statements regarding new stringent requirements of firms to take ESG seriously. Blackrock sees ESG as intrinsically tied to the economic value and long-term growth strategy of every company.

What Is the Time Commitment of Being on a Board?

Outside of committee work, boards generally meet two to four times a year – but this is usually just the beginning. To be effective on a board, you should read the board reports provided by the business leadership. These reports highlight working issues and the progress of the company. As a board director, it is also extremely important to stay current in your industry. You are considered stewards of the strategic direction of the company, and you are expected to know what is happening in your market and with competitors. Additionally, effective board directors need to take an active role in getting to know the senior leadership of the company and developing a good feel for what life is like in the organisation.

stakeholder management

What Is the Right Board Structure for You?

If you’d like to roll up your sleeves and be an active part of the oversight and running of things, a not-for-profit board or start-up board may be up your alley. You will be called on regularly to help provide on-the-ground strategic guidance to the management team. For those of you who want to provide oversight but keep a distance from the company’s operational details, then a mid-level company board or corporate board could be your thing.

This would offer you the opportunity to leverage your strengths and skills from a distance. You will be required to attend quarterly meetings and perhaps sit on a committee. Either way, board service comes with a commitment. Every board will outline just how involved they need board directors to be, which provides every director the opportunity to choose a structure that suits their schedules and commitment capabilities.

For an introduction to what the role of a board is and specifically what role you can play on a board, read Audrey’s article, Have You Ever Considered Board Service?


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Remote Work: Empowering UAE Women

Make this trend work for you.

Ladies, it’s time to say goodbye to stressful commutes to the office and hello to more flexible career options! The rise of remote work across geographies and occupations has been noted the world over. Initially a necessary product of the Covid-19 pandemic, the remote working trend is here to stay providing greater autonomy and, the bonus for women, an opportunity to balance work and life better. The result? A happier and more diverse workforce – basically, a game changer.

A Women’s Career Cycle

The traditional 9-to-5 grind simply didn’t work for working women with personal responsibilities such as family and children, creating a dynamic where 50% to 80% of women drop out of the workforce to have families, with only 20% ever returning back to work once their children are older. And, when women return to the workforce after a significant absence, they aren’t easily able to return to the same career level and face the reality of starting at a few pay grade levels lower than when they left. For women who do return to work, they often struggle to balance their careers with family life, social obligations, and personal interests. But with the rise of remote work, women now have more flexibility to work from the comfort of their own homes, on modified schedules, and without the stress and hassle of commuting to and from a physical office.

Benefits of Remote Working

Companies have recognised the benefits of having a remote workforce. Not only does it save on office space and overhead costs, but it also allows businesses to tap into a larger pool of talent, regardless of location. But it’s not just the employers who benefit from remote work.

Women, in particular, have found that it gives them the flexibility they need to manage their work and personal lives more effectively. A Harvard Business Review study found that women who remote work from home are often more productive and satisfied than those who work in an office. They also have more time to take care of their families, pursue hobbies, and engage in other activities that are important to them.

Of course, remote work isn’t without its challenges. Here, we share some easy-to-implement tips to make the remote working experience a more positive and fulfilling one for any woman.

Top Tips for Remote Work 

Set healthy boundaries: It’s important to have clear and healthy boundaries for yourself and others you work with, particularly in a remote working situation. Simple hacks like designating a workspace that’s just for work, communicating clear working hours to colleagues and family members and sticking to them, and establishing work routines at home that you’d typically observe at the office, are all ways to create a healthy remote working experience.

Connect with your team: Working remotely can be isolating and drastically reduce social interactions that come so easily in an office environment. Frequent communication via email, instant messaging or video conferencing is, therefore, quite important.

Take breaks: Take short, frequent breaks to stretch and recharge during the workday. Breaks help keep you motivated when working from home. And don’t forget to incorporate some self-care during breaks or after working hours!

Pursue hobbies: Remote work gives you back time that you’d otherwise spend commuting. Looked at from a different perspective, it also gives you the freedom to schedule new hobbies, pursue interests and explore passions with all that extra time saved, without sacrificing your career. This also creates that healthy separation between ‘work’ and ‘life’ even when the physical separation between the two no longer exists.

With these tips, you’ll save yourself from burnout!

The Fun in Remote Work

Set your space: Create a workspace that inspires creativity and productivity (hint: no, you can’t use your bed).

Tech like a boss: Invest in the best equipment and high-speed WiFi (no more video call freeze frames or angry laptops – or their owners – throwing a tantrum).

Move it, shake it: We’ve already emphasised the importance of taking breaks to shake off stagnant energy – dance breaks are highly encouraged (bonus points if you bust a move on a conference call).

Coffee, tea & me: If coffee isn’t your jam, keep your mug filled with our natural and organic teas. A sip here, a sip there and you are having the break we’ve already mentioned. Yes, it’s so important to take breaks that we’ve mentioned it 3 times!

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Remote Work Essentials


Energised Essential Oil

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Green Tea Energy Drink

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Rose Quartz Crystal Water Bottle

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The Good Mood Cookie

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The Energy Cookie

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The Brownie Bossbabe

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Lavender & Eucalyptus Candle

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Ylang Ylang Pure Essential Oil

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Aroma Diffuser

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So if you’re a woman who is looking to take control of your career and your life, consider exploring the world of remote work. Doing so may help add the flexibility, autonomy, and balance you’ve been craving for so long in your professional life. You might just find that it’s the perfect fit for you!

The Gaggler team is passionate about finding and sharing great products with our readers. We take pride in researching and testing products to find the best of the best, and we only recommend things that we love and think you will, too.


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