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Take on Board breakfast recap, November 2016

Thanks everyone for joining me at our final Board KickStarter breakfast for 2016 and, in particular, to our fabulous speakers Jill Riseley and Alison Rowe for their informative, insightful and interesting stories and tips.

A group of women sit a four long wooden tables, eating breakfast and talking about the event.

Here’s a summary of some of their take-out messages.

From Alison:

  • Network  go to events, volunteer, find a Board internship, do a course like Williamson Community Leadership Program (“MBA with a conscience), join AICD
  • Skills  sought after skills include finance, legal, strategy, fundraising and also your operational experience is also vital for understanding an industry or sector. Don’t forget soft skills such as vulnerability, vision and humility.
  • Challenges  try to balance up commitment so you don’t end up over-committed. The board should stay in the strategy space. The role of the CEO as director as well. The chair is not the boss!
  • Conflict of interest  if you see it, have the vulnerability to step up and say so.
  • Diversity in all aspects is important  age, gender, experience, location, where born.
  • Reward yourself!

From Jill:

  • Get qualified  in particular, understand the role of management versus board. There are some useful links below.
  • Get a board CV  they are generally shorter than a regular CV and showcase your governance skills rather than operational experience
  • Get governance experience  sub committees, local organisations (there are some ideas of where to look below). But remember to not only do all the hard work with no glory!
  • Look for opportunities in organisations you are already part of  industry or membership organisations often have governance roles.
  • ‘Find your box’  look at the skills matrix for various boards and work out what your contribution is. It doesn’t have to be all about finance and legal. Strategy, engagement, digital and other skills are also sought after.
  • Timing  be in the right place, at the right time!
  • Understand the role and what you’re signing up for  is it a ‘hands on’ board? Or governance? Are there any conflicts for you (think broadly about this  including interests of family and partner).
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Network  go to events, participate online, invite people for a coffee.
  • Develop your plan  think ahead 10 years of where you want to be and work backwards.
  • Seize the day  it has never been a better time for women to get on boards in Victoria.

Useful links for governance training:

Jill Riseley, Alison Rowe and I stand up the front of the Take on Board breakfast crowd.


  • Venue, food, acoustics all really good  positive, informative, practical.
  • Great venue and everything worked well  informative, practical, honest.
  • Great choice of venue and speakers  affirming, focusing, energising.
  • Personable speakers  thought-provoking, vulnerability, humility.
  • Venue and structure of event work well – friendly, informative, timely.
  • Speakers, venue, format, timing all worked well – poignant, useful, excellent.
  • Candid contributions from Alison and Jill – informative, motivating, empowering.
  • Fast moving, stimulated conversation, succinct, advice from engaging/attainable speakers (not intimidating) – professional, engaging, upskilling.
  • Like the number of presenters to give different perspectives – informative, practical.
  • Good venue and I really enjoyed the speakers – insightful, honest, enabling.
  • The format, location and suggestion on introductions at table worked well – interesting, valuable, engaging.
  • Space, coffee, format, and real opportunities worked well – connections, fun, informative.
  • Excellent speakers with generous advice – mind expanding, energising.
  • I loved the venue and thought it was all great – friendly, well-run, informative.
  • Two great speakers with a good balance of insight – networking, insightful, friendly.
  • Great food, good mix of people on the tables, hand cream – gold! Informative, relevant, awesome handbags.
  • Program well timed, food very prompt and coffee great. Open speakers – welcoming, informative.
  • Enjoyed the new location. Speakers great as always! Enjoyable, interesting, inspiring.
  • Food was nice and having two speakers is more relaxed than three – Inspiring, informative, fun.
  • Delivering great breakfast and speakers! Wonderful insights into boards, particularly like the ‘soft skills’ discussion – inspiring, motivating, affirming
  • Great speakers were great! Networking, informative, focussed.
  • Food was great; excellent speakers.
  • Useful, inspiring, interesting.
  • Excellent, great networking, very insightful speakers.
  • Tight agenda, complimentary speakers, connection at end by Helga was great idea – engaging experience. Venue great; handcream a winner!
  • Presenters were relevant and strong. Good format and timekeeping – interesting, insightful, honest.
  • Informative, engaging, frank.
  • Short presentations, good food, venue. Efficient, interesting, engaging.
  • Educational, inspiring, invigorating.
  • Great central location, practical tips provided by both speakers – informative, practical, motivational.
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