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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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Unlocking Prosperity: Three Fundamental Money Principles for Abundant Living

Wealth Unveiled: Prosperity Principles

Money affects every part of our lives. It can bring joy and security, but it can also bring stress and worry. As women, we tend to have a different relationships with money. One thing is certain though: We all want to live a life of abundance and prosperity. Here are some “Money Principles” are not just theoretical concepts, but practical guidelines that can and should be applied in our daily lives to manage our finances effectively. Let’s create a positive relationship with money.

Understanding the dynamics of money and how it works is the first step towards achieving financial prosperity. Firstly, money, in itself, is not the end goal, but a means to an end. It is a tool that can provide us with the resources we need to live a fulfilling life. However, without the right knowledge and understanding, money mismanaged can be a huge blow to our dreams and sustainability. Therefore, it is crucial to learn and understand these fundamental money principles.

The Importance of Money Principles

Money principles serve as a guide for our financial decisions and actions. It’s about creating a framework for managing our finances effectively and responsibly and help us make informed decisions that align with our financial goals and values.

Its imperative we develop a healthy relationship with money. Instead of viewing money as a source of stress or worry, we can see it as a tool without our emotional involvement. Once we remove anger, fear, lack and other negative feelings from the equation, a shift is created in our energy field. This shift in perspective can have a profound impact on our financial well-being and overall quality of life. It can help us overcome financial challenges, achieve our financial goals, and live a life of abundance and prosperity.

The Three Fundamental Money Principles

Principle 1: Spend Less Than You Earn

This may seem like an obvious principle, but it is one that many people struggle with. As of today, we are an out-and-out consumer-driven society. This is an easy trap for anyone to fall into leading to overspending and living beyond their means. This is how one gets sucked into financial stress and debt, hindering our ability to live a life of abundance. It is therefore crucial to develop the discipline to spend less than we earn and live within our means.

The first step to implementing this principle is to create a budget. This involves tracking your income and expenses and setting limits for your spending. It may require making sacrifices and cutting back on unnecessary expenses, but it is crucial for living within your means and avoiding debt. A budget not only helps us control our spending but also gives us a clear picture of our financial situation, enabling us to make informed financial decisions.

Another important aspect of this principle is to save and invest wisely. By setting aside a portion of your income for savings and investments, you are not only preparing for the future but also creating a safety net for unexpected expenses. This can also help you achieve long-term financial goals, such as buying a house or retiring comfortably. Think about building wealth over time.

Principle 2: Give Generously

What goes out must come in! True prosperity is not just about accumulating wealth, but also about sharing it and using it to improve the lives of others. We are not talking about just giving to charity, but also being generous with our time, talents, and resources. It encourages us to share what we have with others and use our resources to make a positive impact in the world.

Giving generously not only benefits others but also brings blessings and abundance into our own lives. It helps us cultivate a mindset of abundance and gratitude, and reminds us that we have more than enough to share with others. By giving generously, we also contribute to creating a more just and equitable society, which ultimately benefits everyone. Give that tip to your hairdresser, sponsor a kid, help out a local charity in UAE.

Principle 3: Seek Wisdom and Guidance

The final fundamental money principle is to seek wisdom and guidance when it comes to managing our finances. This can involve seeking advice from financial experts in the UAE, reading books and articles on personal finance, or even seeking guidance from religious or spiritual leaders. This principle encourages us to continuously learn and grow in our understanding of money and financial management.

When we learn from the experiences and knowledge of others it also helps us stay accountable and motivated in our financial journey.

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