Board position icon Board Position Series

My journey to the boardroom and lessons learnt

Watch webinar

Dermot Hanley

INED - GH Research PLC
2nd of February 2022 at 13:00 (GMT)
Via Zoom

Key Takeaways

  • Dermot says the first question you should ask yourself is, why do you want to become a NED?
  • Your skillset is essential. What can you bring to the table? You must have a USP. Boards pick NEDs to fill specific skills gaps.
  • Dermot’s investment banking career in North America is his USP. He knows ‘debt’. He knows the language and code of how to manage debt. He knows how to structure deals. This skill and his attitude got him his first paid roles on the boards of private equity firms.
  • He knows how markets work, how to interact with investors, and how companies create value. You need to know what you are doing. You are often better than you think, so aim for quality boards.
  • Before joining a board, ask yourself if you will be comfortable with the other people on the board. It would help if you had good resilience and a positive long-term attitude.
  • As boards become more influential, what you know about corporate governance becomes more important. Dermot did a Diploma in Corporate Governance because he took his roles seriously and wanted to know how boards work.
  • When networking, talk to the people who make the decisions and chase high-quality board positions.
  • Your integrity is vital. When you get on a board, do your job. Read the documents, ask the right questions and be effective.
  • Your best advertisement is when someone sees you in action and gives you a referral.
  • Know your role, pay attention, study your sector, and do the proper training. Learn how boards work.
  • You won’t get on a good board if you don’t add real value. Target boards where you can add value.
  • If he were to do it again, he’d start earlier; he’d get trained. It takes time to develop a portfolio as a NED.
  • If you have the ambition to serve on a board, you should start in your 30s or 40s. Try and get involved in committees. Join the local associations around you. Get involved in charities or community groups.
  • It would help if you learned how board dynamics work and when to ask questions. You won’t get good board roles without experience.
  • It would be best if you had a genuine interest in the business of the organisation you join. If you have the right attitude, however, the right level of curiosity, you will ask the right questions.
  • Relationships are built by what you give people. When networking, you should approach people with what you can give them. Mentoring is a huge part of this. If you don’t give, you don’t get.


This Webinar

In this webinar, Dermot Hanley, in conversation with David W Duffy and Delphine Joyeux, will discuss:

  • His motivations for becoming an independent non-executive director (INED)
  • How to position yourself in the market
  • Developing an INED portfolio
  • Things he would have done differently
  • Advice to those starting out on their board journey
This Speaker

Dermot is an experienced independent non executive director (INED), chairperson and investment banker. He is currently a non-executive board member of both publicly listed (NASDAQ) and numerous private equity backed companies and regulated financial (PCF-2 and PCF-3) investment funds (ICAVs and ILPs).

He is a member of the Governance Advisory Council of the Corporate Governance Institute and a longstanding member of the Finance and Economics Committee (Ecotax) at IBEC.

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