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5 Tips for Women Looking to Join a Board

10 Jan 2019 | Advance HE Read our Top 5 Tips on why you should join a board and how to go about it.

If you have ever considered joining the Board of a higher/further education or on a non-executive body in another sector but were not quite sure what it entailed or wondered what the commitment would be and, just as importantly, whether you could make a contribution, read our Top 5 Tips on why you should join a board and how to go about it.

1. Present your CV in a new way

says Alice Johns, previous Programmes and Projects Manager at Advance HE. Alice suggests that understanding any gaps in expertise the board may be in need of is key to success. Focus on your transferable skills (strategy, finance, regulation, HR) and the impact you have made within previous organisations.

2. Persistence is key!

Think of how you can make a difference and add value but be prepared to make several applications before you are accepted so don’t give up. Push yourself to go beyond your comfort zone. As women, we are all familiar with imposter syndrome but be confident in your abilities and be tenacious, Alice adds.


3. Join an organisation you feel passionate about 

says Jenny Ames, who has worked in academia for 35 years across eight universities and was appointed board member of Aneurin Leisure in July 2017.  She thinks that it’s important to join an organisation that whose values align closely with your own. You are contributing your time and skills, usually for free. If you and the organisation are well aligned, you will both be amply rewarded. 

4. Attend a networking event

Jenny Ames suggests attending a networking event. Early in 2017 she attended one of Advance HE’s Women onto Boards events aimed at encouraging more women to apply for a board position. “Having given up the school governor role and done nothing since I decided to look for a new position. One point made at the event was that men often get a board position by asking someone in their network for help. Having a large and diverse network, I decided to take this approach and succeeded in securing a position.”

5. Check out Advance HE’s Board Vacancies Portal

Jenny Tester is a project associate managing the Board Diversification Project at Advance HE. She advises that attracting a more diverse pool of candidates is dependent on an increase in the transparency and accessibility of vacancies. For those considering a board level appointment in higher education the Board Vacancies Portal, a central hub to locate vacancies, serves to increase the transparency of board appointment processes and send a message of inclusivity and accessibility to candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Booking is open for Advance HE's Women onto Boards events

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