How to get a role on a board

by Stephen Conmy

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Here, at the Corporate Governance Institute, we are often asked how someone joins a board and becomes a paid board member.

It’s easier said than done but this ebook will guide you in the right direction.

Did you know, over the past decade, the role of a board member and the non-executive director has evolved significantly.

Successful board members are no longer ‘connected’ old men from the same gene pool, they are people who can challenge bad decisions and governance breaches fearlessly. And they must be solid independent voices in the boardroom.

Having a strong knowledge of corporate governance is essential if someone is to be an effective board member.

Studies by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have found firms that breach the corporate governance code do so because their boards have more executive than non-executive directors making decisions.

Knowing how boards operate is essential if you wish to join a board as a non-executive director.

Did you know that less than 1% of board members and company directors (globally) are certified?


  • Companies with good corporate governance and strong non-executive directors on their boards make more money – they are more valuable to investors.
  • Directors play a crucial role in policing the board, managing conflicts, and presenting factual information.
  • Being a non-executive director comes with many legal obligations. An independent director who fails to challenge bad corporate governance or ethical breaches can violate the law.
  • Governance relies heavily on the board of directors to observe an appropriate duty of care.
  • Reasonable governance expectations are placed on all directors, specifically on independent, non-executive directors.

“The average pay for a board member of a UK Plc is £70,000. Boards are now actively recruiting more women and people from diverse backgrounds.” – Spencer Stuart

Boards now want people from a variety of backgrounds

There is now a demand for board members from less ‘traditional’ backgrounds. In fact, companies often want board members who are representative of their customer base.

Companies are increasingly pressed to diversify their boards by adding more women and underrepresented groups and executives with a variety of cultures and backgrounds.

In the past, boards typically recruited directors from the C-suites of other firms, which no longer happens as much.

More and more chairpeople have sought to support new participants from under-represented groups in developing their confidence to serve on a board in recent years.

The option of becoming a board member is now open to everyone.

To become a great board member, you will need five different types of intelligence: financial, strategic, relational, your role and cultural intelligence.

You can learn more about, and acquire, these types of skills by taking a Diploma in Corporate Governance.

Here’s a quick preview of the ebook

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Board Member

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