The Chair of our board, Judith Downes, is sharing her insights about women on boards at the Business and Professional Women’s state gathering.
What’s the most important thing for anyone thinking about joining a board? For Judith Downes, it’s about making sure the organisation fits with your values.
“If you’re considering joining a board, seek values alignment between yourself and the organisation,” says Judith.
“You need to be comfortable with other members of the board, and ultimately be trying to achieve the same thing. That goes for both women and men.”
Judith stepped into the role of Chair of the board of Bank Australia in 2014, having been on the board since 2012. In her time on the board, she’s overseen strong growth and the name change to Bank Australia.
So what advice does Judith have for women wanting to join a board?
“First, you need to be clear on what you can offer as a member of a board. Think about what skills you bring, and why they would assist the board of that organisation.”
It’s also important to try to match a potential board with your previous experience.
“To sit on a board, it helps if you have had experience interacting with a similar type of board. Even if you haven’t presented to a board in your professional life, think about your personal life. For example, if you have interacted with a school, church or sporting group board, it may be worthwhile thinking about trying to join that type of board first,” says Judith.
Finally, it also pays to be clear on why you want to join a board.
“Some people like the idea of being on a board because it is seen as a good part-time option. It’s true that, except for Board meetings, you can work largely from home and can choose when you do the work. But you’re also on call whenever and for as long as it’s needed if there’s a crisis or unexpected significant event. It’s a different kind of flexibility,” says Judith.
Judith will be speaking about women on boards and gender equality in the workplace at the Business and Professional Women’s 2017 Victorian state gathering on 25 November in Swan Hill.
Bank Australia Swan Hill branch manager, Susan Knight, is involved with Business and Professional Women and is excited to have helped bring the event to Swan Hill.
“It’s great that we’ll be hearing from Judith – and so many other inspiring women – about their professional journeys and tips for success,” says Susan.
Bank Australia is proud to be supporting the Business and Professional Women’s 2017 Victorian state gathering.