John Webb discusses how to prepare for a NED directorship and provide an essential service to the community at the same time.
There comes a time in the careers of many professionals and managers, when they realise that one day they may like to seek a Non-Executive Directorship, perhaps as part of a portfolio career. If you fall into this category, please bear in mind that these roles are very popular, so competition will be intense. As with so much in life, early planning and preparation will increase the chances of any one of us becoming successful.
One of the ways to prepare and also to provide an essential service to the community, is to become a governor of a local school. Not only will this be mutually beneficial but it will broaden one’s perspective and experience. Other pro bono appointments, such as becoming a trustee for a charity, could achieve a similar benefit and of course, could be done at the same time.
So thinking ahead, if you think you might like to become a Non-Executive Director (NED) in retirement or before, you could apply for school governor roles many years before that. Some schools are short of governors and both the depth and breadth of your expertise can be put to good use from the beginning. Just like a NED, you will be a “critical friend” and provide long term benefits to scholars, teaching staff and school administrators.
If you want to know more, Inspiring Governance has a website (inspiringgovernance.org) and this is an easy way for anyone without a connection to a particular school to be linked to an appropriate school. On the website navigation bar at the top of the homepage, you'll see a link for “Become a Governor” and there is guidance therein under the caption “Become a school governor.”
It has been said that the top four key NED skills are: -
Integrity, including independence, strong principles and ethical standards
You will start with the first and can further develop the second, third and fourth in an educational setting. There are plenty of governor opportunities out there and I hope you will consider the benefits of putting your unique combination of skills and experience to wider use and there is no time like the present.