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I remembering hearing once “if you win the rat race – you are still a rat”. Not sure why that pops to mind as begin to explore the process of becoming a director on a publicly listed company. “If you can’t beat them join them” might be more apt.

I have discovered some interesting things already on the journey to holding another directorship.

The women I know who hold paid board roles – have unanimously encouraged me to join their ranks noting – ‘more than anything boards need your sort of skills – marketing, strategy and human resources – compliance is essential but boards need other skills too’. The men on paid boards I know, when asked about boards said ‘why would you? It is really hard work and the risks are enormous’ – one went so far as to say ‘I think women are clever – board work is not only onerous – it is relentless – why would you want that pressure in your life?’

This personal survey does not have a large sample size (six people in total)…. but interesting the different responses.

All this week I have been doing the AICD Company Directors course in Melbourne. There are 25 attending the course, which includes about 8 women. As we were introducing ourselves at the beginning of the week many of the men noted that they had been on boards for years (one for 30 years) – but thought it was time to get the diploma given the media coverage on directors responsibilities. The women all said ‘I am beginning to think about doing some paid board work – so thought I needed to get the qualification before I put myself forward for a role’.

Again interesting the different approach taken by men and women (though of course it is a tiny sample size).

I have been thoroughly enjoying the course (and delighting in just how much I do actually know)… It is very worthwhile – so I encourage those women who want to take action to change the balance in the boardroom to enroll – it is a first step; and at least you will determine if the boardroom is the sort of place where you think you can add value.

It has been quite clear as we work together in different syndicate groups that the women do view the world differently – and I was even acknowledged by my fellow syndicate members “you see things that I never would have seen”…

Boards throughout Australia dominated by men truly have no idea what they are missing out they don’t know what they don’t know. We must continue to agitate so that boardrooms get access to the different insights that women will bring.


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