Thinking of a Portfolio Career for 2018?

On the horizon is a New Year, and new possibilities.

For some, a non-executive director or portfolio career may be on your agenda for 2018.

So, why should you consider a NED role?  It depends on why you are looking to engage in the role – here are some reasons.  Firstly, it enables you to broaden your network and gives varied and new experiences. Indeed, as highlighted in NEDonBoard’s June 2017 guide, What to Expect of the NED Role, ‘it can also strengthen a CV, leading to other appointments and career opportunities. It may well introduce you to new sectors and new ways of working, creating more diversity in your working life. It may be possible to build up a portfolio of roles, which can complement each other if they are in similar fields or require similar skills, although a portfolio of very varied roles can also be useful, giving the NED a broad perspective.  To some, NED roles are a welcome change from having to focus on the operational aspects of an executive job.’

‘NED positions may give you more independence, variety, flexibility and work/life balance. Commercial NED roles are normally paid. Whilst the income is likely to be less than for an equivalent level executive, there are other compensating factors.

Importantly, it should be possible for aspiring NEDs to select roles which provide the satisfaction of ‘giving back’ to society generally or to sectors which they have benefitted from, or where they have a personal interest.  An old saying is that there are three phases of life: “we learn, earn, and then return”. For many, being an NED falls into the latter category. This is not to say you won’t still learn a lot from doing the role.’

However, it’s worth remembering when considering a role and applying for it, that it’s not just about why you would like to take on a NED role – it is important to identify what it is that you have to offer a board / boards. Going further than this, again highlighted in NEDonBoard’s What to Expect of the NED Role, ‘it would be a mistake to assume a NED does not have to master complex and detailed material, often in lengthy board papers that need to be read in a short time.’  Furthermore, the role carries onerous legal responsibilities.

With this in mind, and with the New Year approaching, now is the perfect time to identify for yourself:

  • What plans do I have for my career in 2018?
  • Would a portfolio approach be of benefit to my career – and importantly, what can I bring to a board or role which is beneficial to the organisationfreelu?
  • What do I need to do to be proactive and prepared for such a role? Is my CV up-to-date?  Do I understand the role, responsibilities and legal duties?
  • Who should I connect with?  This may be within the NEDonBoard membership; within your own networks, sector and connections; or through relevant introductions elsewhere.
  • What is a realistic timeline for developing my portfolio career? For some this is within a few months, for others, an 1-3 year plan is more appropriate.

Depending on where you are in your career, you may like to watch NED and Chairman interviews freely available through the NEDonBoard YouTube Channel, to hear the thoughts and advice of those experienced in the role; join us for our upcoming event focused on Best Practice, Succession Planning on January 30th 2018; or to attend a NEDonBoard professional training course on How to Become a(n Effective) Non-Executive Director or Boardroom Finance for Non-Financial Independent Directors. For any questions you may have, you can email

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