Becoming a corporate director hasn’t crossed the mind of most of the 20-something women I know. If anything, board membership is a far off fantasy. But, as Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire convincingly argues in The Board Game, one of the best ways to establish a career is to position yourself on a corporate board. With a growing demand for women on corporate boards, the time to act is now. Here’s how to reap the benefits of board membership sooner rather than later.
Seek out a mentor or sponsor
Start now: Mentorships and sponsorships take time to develop. To gain a board seat, you will need men and women willing to stick their necks for you in their recommendations. Mentors or more formal sponsors can make sure you are visible and considered for promotions and opportunities at all stages in your career. Sponsors are seniors in a company who identify someone as a high-potential individual and, in response, champion that person for promotions and strategic responsibilities. Meanwhile, mentorships serve as a more general relationship of counsel and advice, either formal or informal. Though long-term mentorships can provide ongoing support over years, Berkhemer-Credaire prefers “short and sweet” informal mentorships. Take a moment to tell someone if you are applying his or her methods or approaches, setting up a longer conversation and relationship or simply gaining greater insight for a certain project.
Become visible early... Read the complete Forbes.com article on getting a seat on the board.