Athena In Action November 26, 2019

Salon Highlights: Board 101

By The Athena Alliance

Athena Founder & CEO Coco Brown recently led members in a virtual salon covering Board 101: what you need to know about board service, what to expect when negotiating your first board seat, and how to know if you’re ready to serve on a board. Read our key takeaways from the salon below. Members can view the full recording in the Member Resource Library.

  1. The board of directors helps grow an organization’s bottom-line in a variety of ways. They offer a diversity of relevant experience, allowing the organization to adopt an external focus that is informed about broad-reaching challenges and innovations. With the median CEO tenure being a mere 5 years, the board owns the strategy, purpose, and culture of the company while providing long-term focus and metrics.

  2. There are times when a board actually hinders your organization. In the past, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see six former or current CEOs and five auditors/CFOs on a board. But this type of board composition can actually hurt your company’s bottom line. The boardroom has typically been the place you go after your career to share your wisdom, but business has fundamentally changed in the last 10 years. These changes require modern solutions and modern leadership to keep your organization relevant.

  3. Your contributions are valid in the boardroom—even if you’re not a CEO. Women are naturally skilled innovators and strategists. As such, women fill many of the contemporary roles needed in the modern boardroom. Women are 55% of CHROs, 47% of CCOs, 39% of SVPs of Strategy, 35% of CCOs, and 32% of CMOs. These statistics are much higher than roles traditionally seen in the boardroom, with women filling only 6% of CEO roles and 11% of CFO roles.

  4. Expect to put in 240 hours per year as a board member. If there is a crisis, it’s all hands on deck. Your fiduciary responsibility requires it!

  5. Director compensation can vary widely between private and public companies. For a public company, compensation is not negotiable—but it is easily discoverable. You can expect to see a cash component between $40-140k depending on the size of the company, often with the option of a slightly higher stock equivalent. There is additional compensation for board chairs and committee chairs. In comparison, private companies usually won’t offer cash compensation. They may offer a portion of equity with a vesting schedule of 2-4 years which can be negotiated. 

Interested in unlocking access to our exclusive, curated events? Learn more about Athena’s executive development program for women leaders.