Governance NZ

‘I wish I had known…’ – What four award winning directors want you to know about governance

We asked previous winners of the Women in Governance Awards - what was it that they wished they had known before embarking on their governance careers?

Their responses ranged from seeking out professional development to sexism in the industry.

This is what think they want all women on boards to know:

Meleane Burgess

I wish I had known in my earlier years that governance was a viable career path and that there are professional development courses that can help develop a stronger foundation in this space. In my experience, I 'fell' into governance and at times early on I felt like I had been tossed in the deep end, learning as I went. I encourage others to make use of the organisations and programs currently available and seek guidance and mentorship from others.

Sina Cotter Tait

Just how important a good chair is. I’ve worked with superb chairs, and very poor ones – and it makes all the difference in the world, for so many reasons. The boards where I feel I was most able to contribute effectively were the ones led by excellent chairs who cultivated a positive boardroom culture and ran really purposeful meetings. It’s now my most important criterion for board roles.

Claire Evans

I wish I had known how important it is to find your champion and your confidante. I have developed a network of female directors that I can call at any time to talk through any issue or help with the next step in my governance career. I’m truly grateful for their advice over the years.

My other advice from governance perspective – an organisation can change fast. You can go from plain sailing to having issues very quickly so never take your eye off!

Jessie Chan

Sexism and racism are still alive and well and always will be. The challenge is for the majority of us to rise above it, so it becomes the minority voice that doesn’t get airtime, and those views are kept out of our decision making.