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5 Ways to Accelerate Your Board Journey with Gravitas

We were excited to host theBoardlist last Tuesday at The Riveter Capitol Hill for an informational panel and workshop exploring gravitas and the board room. Read their event recap blog post below on 5 ways to accelerate your board journey with gravitas. See the original post here.

Gravitas — also known as Executive Presence — is that quality you project when you are at your most confident in your professional expertise and at your most centered in your personal values. You know it when you see it — the ability of someone to intuit the right time to listen deeply and when to speak, when to ask questions and when to suggest answers. Those with gravitas are able to earn the trust and respect of their CEO and fellow board members…and to build rapport with the right people in their board search. Without this elusive quality, it is impossible to be a successful director.

Earlier this week in Seattle, theBoardlist held an informational panel and workshop exploring gravitas and the board room.

A big thank you to our sponsors Bank of AmericaWilson Sonsini Goodrich & RosatiMicrosoft Ventures, to our community partners 100% Talent and WTIA, and to The Riveter, who made the event a reality.

Thanks also to our speaker and workshop leader Cate Goethals (UW Foster School of Business) and to our panelists Martha Josephson (Egon Zehnder) and Patty Bedient (Board Member, Alaska Airlines; Park Hotels and Resorts; Suncor Energy) who explored how to both stand out and remain true to yourself in the board search process and how to have an impact once you’re inside the board room.

Below are 5 tips on projecting your value in a genuine way during your board search and service:


1. Be Vulnerable — Have the confidence to share a struggle and outcome without oversharing. Your vulnerability and self-awareness around a past event will shine through. Cate Goethals recommends revealing something to kick an exchange out of autopilot and to really connect with others. Remember, no one thinks anyone else is perfect. Rid yourself of the veneer and be real.

2. Be Authentic - Be factually assertive without being overtly aggressive. Know when to speak and when not to. Do not fill the silence.

3. Be Your Whole Self— Don’t fall into the trap of being a walking resume. Be your whole self because your board success hinges on the relationships you build. Don’t be afraid of sharing personal information about yourself, because it humanizes you and makes you memorable. For example, our panelist Patty Bedient explained that she has 10 brothers and sisters — family is very important to her — she can’t and shouldn’t be afraid to bring this facet of her life to work.

4. Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses— It is important, especially during the interview process, to use the “Lego pieces” of your resume and life story to have an authentic and holistic conversation, instead of just listing your experiences in chronological order. Martha Josephson preps her board candidates to know both their negatives, positives and things that scare them at the ready, because they are part of your whole self.

5. Be Polite, but Assertive—A board process usually takes a lot of time, so don’t be afraid to suggest a next step to keep the conversation going (meet the CFO, get exposed to the Audit committee, etc.). In your thank you email, it’s good to ask a question based on your interactions so far to keep your process top of mind.

theBoardlist was created to answer the age old excuse that there was a “lack of talent” for female board positions. theBoardlist currently has over 2,000 exceptionally qualified candidates which offers the benefit of diverse perspectives around the table.

Join us: http://theboardlist.com/join