When climbing the career ladder, a good indication that you’ve reached somewhere near the top is being bestowed with a Directorship. But a place on the Company Board doesn’t automatically come with the knowledge of the roles and responsibilities that you will suddenly be expected to take on. Even though you might have the qualifications to succeed in your chosen industry and ably demonstrated the professional qualities needed to rise through the ranks, taking on the role of a Company Director presents a whole host of new challenges when compared to your usual day-to-day job.
Fortunately, help was at hand when JCI London, in collaboration with the Institute of Directors, organised a training course at London’s South Bank University. The aim of the day was to ask the young professionals in attendance, who had given up their Saturday for the opportunity to be there, were they ready for the Boardroom? To ensure that they were significantly more prepared by the end of the day than they might have been at the beginning, a range of presenters delivered the Good, the Bad and the Ugly experiences of life at Board level.
Having made his fortune in business, Alan Edwards came out of early retirement to invest in and take up non-executive positions on the Boards of numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. With a wealth of experience, he was able to explain to the audience why having an effective Board of Directors is crucial to the successful growth of a business, how the best Boards have a large breadth of knowledge and experience among their members and why investors look to the management expertise of the Directors before deciding to risk their money. At the slightly more youthful end of the scale was Marcus Evans who, at a relatively tender age, had already held numerous Board positions. Marcus is currently the Commercial Director for Nutbourne, an office design and IT services company. But, before creating his own start up with a school friend, Marcus was able to talk about the many mistakes made along the way and the lessons he had to learn to get him to where he was today. Paul Munden, the lead governance instructor at the Institute of Directors, was able to put a humorous spin on the serious topic of corporate responsibility and the legal ramifications that can come from Directors not acting in an ethical and legal manner. Through audience participation he was able to work through a number of fictional scenarios, getting people to consider the various decisions that a Director might be faced with in their role and the potential consequences if they made the wrong ones. Stepping back from the profit driven world of private corporations, Alex Swallow, Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition, spoke passionately about the important role that young people can play as a Trustee for a charitable organisation. With the average age of a Board of Trustees in the UK hovering in the high fifties, Alex illustrated the many ways that we could influence and shape the work carried out by charities. The obvious subtext being that, not only was getting involved in charitable work incredibly satisfying on a personal level, but taking up the role of a Trustee can be excellent preparation for a place on the Board. The compere for the event was Marcus Orlovsky, Director atBryanston Square. Having been incredibly successful in a number of industries, including finance, recruitment, property development, education and antique selling, Marcus delivered an inspirational presentation on risk taking, identifying gaps in the market and seizing opportunities. Speaking from his own personal experience, he was able to demonstrate that approaching problems with novel solutions and disrupting already established markets are some of the best ways to generate rapid business growth. Always looking for new challenges, it was great to hear from someone who is brave enough to get to the top of their profession and then look for something else to which to apply themselves.
Overall, it was a fantastic course and credit must go to Nahas Abdul, JCI London’s Business Director, and his team for organising such a well attended and smoothly run training event. It was also a great opportunity to meet other members of JCIfrom around the country, as well as student members of the IoD and the University. It’s safe to say that, if people didn’t think that they were ready for the Boardroom when they first arrived, by the time they left they were considerably more so.
Aidan McManus is a Member of JCI Liverpool, and Operations Director at Tenet
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Eyad Hamouieh