How to find a role as a non-executive director

by Stephen Conmy

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How to find a role as a non-executive director is a key area covered by the Diploma in Corporate Governance. If you are looking for a paid non-executive director (NED) position, where do you start? There is no simple answer to this question but this guide will help you discover some of the most viable routes to the boardroom.

The key points covered in this guide include:

  • The role of the non-executive director (NED)
  • First steps to the boardroom
  • How do you become an in-demand non-executive director, the strategic skills do you need to develop
  • The rising demand for more diversity at the boardroom level
  • Why a demand for diversity is an excellent opportunity for qualified and certified women board candidates as well as non-executive directors from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds
  • The compensation for board members and non-executive directors
  • How to find executive search firms that specialise in NED recruitment

In conclusion, the role of the non-executive director (NED) places great emphasis on personality and ability, not just your professional achievements.

Think of it this way; the NED must be a strong, independent, but instrumental voice in the boardroom. Do you feel comfortable challenging bad decisions? Do you have good diplomatic skills? Are your persuasion abilities strong?

  • An effective NED understands the strategic – not just operational – needs of the organisation and is comfortable communicating with all stakeholders.
  • Keep in mind, getting your first post in the non-executive world can be difficult. It requires work, determination and a lot of networking. 
  • NEDs often face the same experience/opportunity dilemma as first-time job seekers or graduates – they cannot get a job without experience and cannot gain experience without a job.
  • Often, boards looking to appoint new NEDs seek out people who have expertise in how boards operate.
  • The best advice is to get certified as a director by taking a Diploma in Corporate Governance and then put yourself forward – let people know you want to become a NED.
  • Start networking. Start publishing articles. Start speaking at events.
  • You need to be seen as an expert in an area that boards value. Ask yourself, what is your USP? What makes you stand out? 


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Board Roles
Non-Executive Director

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