Having interviewed Denise Wilson, OBE, Chief Exec of The Davies Review, following a NEDonBoard panel evening, it is obvious to say that much has been achieved in improving gender diversity of non-executive directors in FTSE 100 companies and the new recommendations mark a significant step up from Davies’s first report on gender diversity in the boardroom. Following on from Part I, Part II is dedicated to Denise’s greatest pieces of advice for women to be prepared for this challenging role.
Tips for women looking to progress their executive career
A: Top tips for women who are keen to progress their executive career – I would say make sure you have a diverse set of experiences within your organisation; be prepared to change organisation if you aren’t seeing promotions come through; don’t necessarily take the job that’s offered to you; look to make sure that you have some P&L experience in your background; and look out for those really chunky jobs that are the key roles in your organisation, as opposed to maybe some of those roles that are more in the side lines, or don’t have significant budgets, or don’t have a significant number of employees reporting to them.
So be very clear about what you want, that you are ambitious, you do want to get to the top, and make sure that you accept roles that are going to give you the kind of experience that’s needed to get at the top table. I would say be resilient, keep asking for what you want, and make your views are known widely within the organisation.
Look for sponsors – look for people who’ve supported you in the past in previous roles, maybe in much more junior roles, hang onto those people, ask them to speak out for you and help you in your quest to get to the top. Work closely with peers, it’s important that you get on well with your peers, so spend time investing in those relationships as well as your up and down relationships in the organisation, and be confident and go for it.
If you’re a non-executive director, why not email NEDonBoard ([email protected]) and share with us you top pieces of advice or the experiences you’ve learned from in your NED career.