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Ep 17. How To Capitalise On A Board For Business Growth

Kylie-Hammond Capitalise On A Board For Business Growth

Kylie Hammond, Shares Her Expert Advice On How To Capitalise On A Board For Business Growth And Improved Performance.

Kylie Hammond is the CEO and Founder of Director Institute. Kyle is a leading board talent management consultant and Australia’s foremost CEO business mentor.

Director Institute is the fastest growing network of board directors in the region and aims to refresh boards in Australia by addressing the gap around connecting fresh director talent with board opportunities.

Kylie has placed more than 2,500 directors in board roles. Kylie is passionate about helping executives create portfolio careers which can include a main employment contract, combined with not-for-profit work, board appointments, speaking and coaching or mentoring engagements.

Kylie has had considerable experience leading human capital management and performance management programs, working as a trusted advisor to global corporations, including Cisco Systems, PeopleSoft and Deloitte Consulting.

Kylie is a highly regarded commentator about boards and board performance and regularly features in leading publications like The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, Sky News, Sydney Morning Herald, Women’s Agenda and HR Director.

In this episode we delve into:

The Director Institute focuses on developing and connecting the next generation of board directors with organisations and boards.

Kylie and Caroline discuss their thoughts on why we are slow to make the much-needed progress concerning equal representation at a c-suite and board level, in the corporate and private sector.

Caroline & Kylie discuss the many opportunities available for both Men and Women in the boardroom. Kylie provides practical strategies and advice on how you can become the next generation of Directors.

Kylie provides her top three tips for women in regards to putting themselves forward for Executive and Directors roles.

Caroline shares how she has encountered many women who think that after having a child their career progress is limited, and it holds them back.

Kylie provides advice for females around having the confidence to progress. There are opportunities available for women on boards, and a board appointment offers flexibility for both men and women with family commitments.

Kylie shares with us her thoughts on skill diversity in c-suite and boardroom roles.

Kylie and Caroline discuss how critical the relationship between the CEO and members of the board is to an organisation’s impact and ability to succeed.

A Prime example is the demise of Dick Smith. The dysfunctional relationship between the board and CEO was thrown into public light as part of the examination by the Supreme Court.

Kylie provides her advice on how CEOs and boards can foster healthy working relationships.

There is a discussion around how you can capitalise on a board for business growth, this could be either an Advisory Board or a formal Board of Directors.

Kylie offers her tips on the ideal time for business to start thinking about appointing an advisory board.

Kylie talks about the importance of due diligence checks when companies are considering appointing an advisory board.

Kylie shares her tips on the steps' executives who are interested in advising at a boardroom level should take to secure a position.

If you are interested in progressing your career and becoming a next generation Director, contact Kylie Hammond at Director Institute.

More about Kylie Hammond

Read The Interview

CAROLINE KENNEDY:  Welcome and today my guest is Kylie Hammond CEO and Founder of the Director’s Institute. Kylie is a leading board talent management consultant and Australia’s foremost CEO business mentor.

Director’s Institute is the fastest growing network of board directors in the region and aims to refresh boards in Australia by addressing the gap around connecting fresh director talent with board opportunities.

Kylie has placed more than 2,500 directors in board roles. She is passionate about helping executives create portfolio careers which can include a main employment contract, combined with not-for-profit work, board appointments, speaking and coaching or mentoring engagements.

Kylie has had considerable experience leading human capital management and performance management programs, working as a trusted advisor in global corporations, including Cisco Systems, PeopleSoft and Deloitte Consulting.

Kylie is a highly regarded commentator about boards and board performance and features regularly in leading publications like The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, Sky News, Sydney Morning Herald, Women’s Agenda and HR Director.

Kylie was also listed in the 2016 edition of the Who’s Who of Australian Women.

Welcome to the show Kylie. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you share your expertise with our listeners.

KYLIE HAMMOND: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

CAROLINE: Your welcome.  Now tell us about yourself Kylie and your career.

KYLIE: So I am the Chief Executive officer of Director Institute, Next Generation Directors. And we are focused on placing, you know, aspiring and current board directors into board rooms and we are very focussed on bringing in this new guard of talent across a whole range of different industry sectors and skill sectors, into the boardroom. I’ve been involved in top level board recruitment for many years and saw there was a real opportunity to refresh the boardrooms in Australia, to bring in this new talent pool.

CAROLINE: Yes, yes. Kylie, why in your opinion are we not making any progress on equal representation at a C- suite and board level particularly in the corporate and private sector.

KYLIE: Yes, on a gender representation issue, there are still ongoing issues in the ASX and you know I think the numbers are quite skewed and we are not seeing the real progress that we would like.  I think there has been a lot of rhetoric, a lot of talk, talk of 30% clubs, all that kind of thing, and none of it is making real genuine headway. But to be honest I am kind of ‘over’ the conversation.  Because in the private sector, in the private equity venture capital markets and so on, we don’t see those gender issues at all.  Women have as many opportunities, if not more, then the guys, and we see 50-50 split boards all the time. I’ve placed thousands of board members.  So, from my mind the issue is really, you can get very distracted by the ASX debate, because the reality, in the real world where the money counts, companies and corporations are wanting to put the best talent around the boardroom and that means equal representation of men and women.

CAROLINE: Yes, and I think that is a very valid point Kylie, and it’s something I get asked about regularly, and I talk about regularly, gender equality. I have always had the firm position for myself, I’ve been a CEO for a multinational organisation, and I never let those stereotypes stop me.  To be honest they were never even relevant to me either, so that whole glass ceiling stereotype, for me it never existed, and it was never a barrier and I never felt that there weren’t opportunities available to me.  I believed that I had the same opportunities as everybody else and it was up to me to make something of my career and myself, and I suppose it goes back to, and I’ve always said, we need to stop complaining about it and actually do something about it. Take responsibility that if you want something you need to go after it.  And build that because it is equal opportunity out there.

KYLIE: Exactly. Women can literally do every role on the planet, from the president to the, you know, all sorts of careers and all sorts of levels.  So, I think we create our own problems when we get side-tracked by these quite silly debates.  There are only a very small number of ASX boards now don’t have women in their boardrooms and quite frankly if they don’t want them there, they probably have their own reasons for that.  So why get all hung up on a debate that really doesn’t serve us very well, and we are very well represented everywhere on the planet.

CAROLINE: And I think it comes back to the fact that we allow excuses to hold us back and they can then be the catalyst for the reason why we didn’t do x y and z as well.

KYLIE: Yeah exactly.

CAROLINE: Now Kylie what are your top 3 tips for women in regards to putting themselves forward?

KYLIE: To go down a board pathway, a boardroom pathway?

CAROLINE: Yes.

KYLIE: Look I think be careful where you take your advice from because there is a lot of misconceptions, there’s a lot of people very well intentioned giving advice on this.  But having placed literally thousands of women into boardrooms, the key is to try and start as early as possible and you know, that can mean when you are in your executive career looking for an opportunity to take on quality external appointments and that could be in the not-for-profit space, and that’s very valid, but the other opportunity that gets a little bit overlooked is the early stage up and coming private companies. These are where you can really cut your teeth and if they’re businesses that are raising capital and so on, you get a lot of exposure to the business community and you can really build a reputation around that.  So, you must have a clear idea of what you value proposition is, you have to have a really great personal brand, but the heart of it, the people who have successful board careers are prepared to network.  And that really is the key. Women are good networkers but as you say sometimes they might not be putting themselves quite out there. If you are going to have a successful board career, networking must be an essential part of your board search strategy and connecting in with key decision makers.  Because they will invite you into the boardroom and there are so many roles and opportunities where you can get your start and to start building up those credentials.  You never start, very rarely, in a big ASX appointment.  You never start where you’d like to end up, but you can build up really great credentials in the private market as advisory board members and non-execs.  It’s a very rewarding career so it’s definitely worth pursuing.

CAROLINE: Yes, that’s a really good tip and advice thank you. Now I’ve talked about this before, but I’ve encountered many women who believe that after having a child, their career can’t progress and it holds them back.  And it’s not an obstacle because I am a prime example of that. I’ve had the child.  Don’t get me wrong but I do believe that discrimination does occur whether its conscious or unconscious and I’ve experienced it, but I’ve never let anything stand in my may, so what is your advice for women who are, you know, not necessarily confident to progress? So, what is your advice?

KYLIE: Look I am a big believer in baby to boardroom and we have helped quite a large number of females who have had very successful corporate careers, taken time out to have a family, now wanting to come back into the market, maybe struggling to find something that is going to give them the flexibility that they are looking for.  And we have been able to chart a pathway back into a boardroom setting, which is a fantastic way to come back into the market.  Confidence is the key, because I think when people do leave the workforce for a period of time, networks often go on hold, confidence levels sometimes can fall away, and a lot of us take our validation from being in the workplace and being career minded and so on.  But I don’t think we’ve provided enough clear pathways for women to come back into the workforce and there are these really narrow perceptions of what is possible. But I can tell you anything is possible.  It’s just about putting a plan in place.  What we do if someone is indicating they are thinking of coming back into the workplace, put a plan in place, get the branding right, you need a top top corporate resume to come back into the market, don’t be embarrassed about the break you’ve had. Put it front and centre, took X number of years out to raise a family. There is nothing wrong with that.  And coming back in, you’ve got to reactivate the networks, and you are going to have to create new ones.  It will take a little bit of time to reengage but anything is possible and board work in particular, corporate women, who have gone off on maternity leave, should really think about coming back in at board level because it will provide some flexibility.  You have a board schedule, you know when meetings are going to occur, because if you are raising a young family that could be very very helpful.  You are still able to make a really substantial contribution at a very senior level in those boards.

CAROLINE: That’s a very valid point that not a lot of women consider either.

KYLIE: Yeah, I think that they’ve just never thought it was possible and again this is back to be careful where you get your advice from.  A lot of very well intentioned people have narrow perceptions themselves, head-hunters might have narrow perceptions of what is possible, and they look for the quick wins and might not put a candidate forward whose been off on maternity leave for a period of time, but the clients themselves don’t have those perceptions or limitations.  I’ve never had a business owner say to me ‘oh she’s been out of the workplace for 4 years having children, no, her skill set is no longer valid’.  (both laugh)  That just does not occur. You just have to be careful where you take the advice from, and you do need to plan for it, but be confident that you still know how to ride the bike. You’ve had a successful corporate career and it doesn’t stop just because you’ve raised a family.

CAROLINE: Yes, yes that’s very, very, valid.  Now, traditionally CEO roles have predominantly been filled by individuals with the financial skill set.  I’ve seen CFOs promoted into CEO roles but from my experience this is not necessarily the best move for organisations. Having a background in, for instance, varied skill sets particularly on boards and having that diversity can be quite beneficial.

KYLIE: Yes.

CAROLINE: So, what are your thoughts on this?

KYLIE: Yes, there are a number of pathways to Chief Executive but you’ve really got to just re-think that depending on the organisation of course. Re-think the skills and those pathways because there are many ways to come up through the ranks.  You know, the traditional Chief Executive has often come up through the sales pathway, because they’re often very results driven, able to get results, able to be the spokesperson for the organisation and so on.  And that’s valid, but often the traits that make for a really good CEO which is sales and that dominant trait, in this sort of modern environment some of those leadership styles aren’t always resonating.  And we’ve seen this in a lot of companies where they’ve appointed very very charismatic dominant quite big egos into the chief executive role, but culturally sometimes it’s not a fantastic match.  So, you know, the current sort of thinking in executive markets is that people are being promoted a lot earlier then in the past, and they are getting into that C Ex O role with about 10 years less experience then what they’ve had in the past and they’ve actually got a lot less training under their belt, and not as much formal training as there used to be.  So people are often getting into these roles under prepared.  I think the onus is really on the individual to boost some of their own skills themselves and make sure when they do get into that really important key leadership role, that they can make a good contribution and be successful.

CAROLINE: Yes, that’s very true. And also I believe that at that sort of leadership level, the self-awareness is so important.

KYLIE: Very much so.

CAROLINE: And to be really be open perhaps to looking at challenges and problems and they might exist with you. So further develop and enhance your leadership skills, and as you said before, seek to learn and develop in an environment that allows for that.  It could be outside of the workplace in a learning environment, it is integral to success. The other thing you were talking about, charismatic leaders.  Being an introvert, I have found that the quality that introverts have can really make for a strong leader because they are so focussed and they are about leadership, and leading the team to success, as opposed to taking a lot of the glory for themselves.  It’s about the team.  And yet introverts interestingly, were not seen as the typical leader for many years.  Yet those qualities really can lead to success in business.

KYLIE: Yes, very much so.  And I think it’s again about those pre-conceptions that a CEO should have this, this and this.  Charismatic leader arising to the top, but they may not be the right people and times are now changing, business is changing. We’ve got millennials coming into the workforce.  By 2020 nearly half the workforce will be made up of this whole new age demographic, and how we are going to engage with those workforces? So, there are a lot of things to consider and many people from many different backgrounds can be fantastic leaders for different organisations. And we have to re-think those pre-conceptions and ideas.

CAROLINE: I completely agree. The relationship between the CEO and members of the board is crucial to an organisations impact and the ability to succeed. A prime example is the $400 million demise of Dick Smith. From what I’ve read, the dysfunctional relationship between the board and the CEO was thrown into the public domain as part of the proceedings before the Supreme Court.  So can you share with us your advice on how CEOs and boards can foster healthy working relationships?

KYLIE: And yes, you mentioned Dick Smith, that’s a very high profile example.  And all the transcripts this week from the different parties, and there is a bit of finger pointing going on there, for sure. A very embarrassing situation for the Chief Executive Nick Abboud who really is a solid guy and in his first big chief executive role and things have gone pear shaped in quite a modest period of time. My understanding is that he is very very upset about the outcome.

CAROLINE: I’m sure.

KYLIE: I’m mindful of…..there’s a lot of reputations on the line here.  And the scrutiny is quite significant and there is even a chance of prosecutions. With that aside, the issues with Dick Smith, and it’s not uncommon across the board, is that there are a couple of key individuals who really championed the CEO’s appointment, they were the private equity guys.  So, when you come in as the chief executive and you have the support of a couple of board members but maybe not full support of all the board, from the get-go things are a little bit off kilter. Because you really need that full board support from day one. The second issue that occurred there, is that there’s been a lack of retail experience at boardroom level and an over reliance on the CEO’s retail experience, which has been a bit limited in this context of operating in his first really big chief executive role, so the breakdown between the board, the chair, and different board members and with the chief executive has come back to a lack of good communication, a lack of transparency.  It’s been a recipe for disaster and the consequences have been quite substantial.  It is a critical relationship and it is two-way street. Everybody is responsible for fostering a good relationship but as a chief executive you can’t have good relationships with one or two board members and expect that to carry. You cannot have side bar conversations with different board members and think, ‘oh that’s all been approved by everybody’. And you can’t run off and make your own decisions without full board support. It is a complete team.  There is no point really at the end of the day, the different team members blaming each other, and saying ‘I thought this, and I thought that’. They had to be as a board and a chief executive operating as one, and they were not. And at the end of the day, that is the crux of the issue with Dick Smith. And when you see other issues transpire in the market, it’s because they are not operating as one. You get individuals running their own race and it can’t work. It doesn’t work.

CAROLINE: No, it doesn’t.  And you make a valid point there when things go sour like they did with Dick Smith, with the pointing of the finger, and everyone has to be accountable and responsible and take responsibility for the fact that perhaps there wasn’t transparency in the communication, rather then ‘I didn’t understand that’. Well if you are a board member you have a responsibility to understand or ask the questions, as well there is no shifting responsibility elsewhere.  Everyone on that particular board is responsible for what occurred.

KYLIE: And the problem now is that the stakes are so high. The risks for directors for personal liability are very high and so then there is the insurers on the back end who are telling people what they can and cannot say, and you know, it’s like trying to have a really good look under the skirt in terms of the footprint of what has gone on here.  But it’s very very challenging and a shock to quite a number of people in the system, and businesses do encounter difficulties, and they do go under.  But then when you see the aftermath and the scrutiny that comes about and the risk to reputation and so on, people might think twice about serving on some of these really high profile boards.  But at the end of the day, communication is at the heart of all business.  And that relationship between a board and their chief executive is a most critical one, and it has to be honest, open transparent, informal and formal, and its got to be a team, a leadership team. And this is where we are seeing a bit of a lack of leadership, and leadership in the boardroom is lacking in Australia at the moment.

CAROLINE: Yes, and team is a good word because they are the team, they are the executive team.  Though whilst there might be a chief executive leading the wider business, at the end of the day the buck stops with all of them, including the board and the chief executive.

KYLIE: Correct correct, yes.

CAROLINE: Now Kylie, when is the right time for a board to start thinking about pointing an advisory board as a starting point?

KYLIE: I think almost every business operating, even in the early stages, should have an advisory board. I’ve practiced what I preach myself.  In the early stages of my business I’ve always had an “A” team around me.  Because I love to be accountable and run my advisory board, so I have a group of people I am accountable to, and I’ve been able to achieve things I wouldn’t have done in that timeframe, or would have made mistakes, or not have the right advice around me.  So the sooner the better, and you don’t have to have a massive advisory board. You don’t have to have 10 people on your advisory board, you can have 2 people on your advisory board.  But at any stage you can start to look at bringing in that formality of regular monthly meetings, accountable to your business strategy and your plans, and taking external advice as to how you grow your business successfully. And you know seeing in private companies the rise and rise of advisory boards, there are so many advisory board opportunities it’s not funny, and it’s great for people who want to give advice, and it’s a great career pathway, but it’s also fantastic for businesses.  Being in business is not easy, so we want to grow and we want to be successful and we want to execute on our strategy, you need your A team around you.

CAROLINE: Yes, and you made a valid point about accountability and advisory boards, even if it’s a small one. Persist with that. I see so many small businesses really struggle because there is no accountability to anybody but themselves, which is really challenging, you are not really accountable to yourself unless you are a very strong driven individual. So it’s good for that balance and varied perspectives, to challenge your thought processes and being objective within a business too. And to have a sounding board -  that is so important particularly for small business owners doing it all alone. To have that sounding board is critical and it really does help build the momentum and lead to success when you have that support around you.

KYLIE: The other thing for me is that its prevented mistakes. My advisors have pulled me up and said, in my opinion I think you are heading in the wrong direction, so why don’t you think about it a little bit more.  Or in their experience, they might have already tried that.  A very good example I had a magazine publication I wanted to take it to print publication and I sat down with one of my advisors Ita Buttrose and she clued me into some of the challenges with printing costs and where her magazine ended up owing $8M in printing costs at the end of the day.  I think I’ll stay with e-marketing and a digital publication. I was so set this was the way I was going, and it was that one conversation, that one little bit of advice, that probably stopped me losing many millions of dollars down the track. And I just hadn’t read the writing on the wall, but this is where the shift is now. So being able to prevent a mistake is worth as much as getting things right.

CAROLINE: Yes, very much so. And I think that what I’ve always believed as well is that example is a prime one if people have walked the path before and go and have a talk to them. Understand what challenges and successes they had.  Talk to them about your idea or your process or the product. Whatever it may be because they have been there and done it and that can prevent a lot of costly mistakes.

KYLIE: Tap into other people’s experiences – it makes a lot of sense.

CAROLINE: So, what other due diligence checks do you recommend businesses consider when appointing an advisory board?

KYLIE: So, do you mean checks on advisory board members or the checks that the advisory board members would do on the company?

CAROLINE: A bit of both, but let’s start with the business doing the due diligence on the advisory board.

KYLIE: Yes, you want to make sure the people coming on board have enough time to commit to the business and they are not doing it for the wrong reasons. They are not turning up for board fees per say. They have a genuine interest and can add genuine value.  I think all arrangements in this space, don’t over commit. You don’t need to appoint people for 12 months or years. Start slow and get people to prove themselves and you can always extend relationships. And don’t be afraid if you have appointed someone who is not adding the value to your business to terminate them. And to say ‘this isn’t working for me, thank you very much.’  So, I think like with all employment, slow to hire, take your time, have a number of meetings, get them to maybe attend a board meeting as an observer to see how it can operate, get their input. People are very very keen to do this kind of work but you really need to make sure that chemistry is there.  We do a lot of crowd funding and capital raising and we tell people to put all those thoughts aside and look at the individual, would you take their advice, would you want to work with them? Life’s a bit short to work with someone you don’t like so make sure the chemistry is right and so long as you don’t over commit and don’t get yourself caught up in lengthy contracts there can only be an upside.

CAROLINE: Yes yes. And I think that’s very good advice particularly about not overcommitting as well, and make sure you find that right fit and just try it out.

KYLIE: Yes, just try.  Try a few different things. Somethings may not work and you may part ways. I have certain advisors I’ve only worked with for a short period of time, 6 to 12 months, and I have others I’ve worked with for 10 years.  And they are my go-to people and there is a huge level of trust there, but I don’t expect one person to have all the solutions to my problems. And I take advice with a little bit of a grain of salt as well.

CAROLINE: Yes, and you decide if you want to take it on board or not. (Both laugh)

KYLIE: The end of the day, yes you can kind of pick and choose.

CAROLINE: But that’s the key I think as well is for individuals or businesses to understand that it is advice. At the end of the day you decide what path you want to go down, but it is good to have that broad, as I said before, perspective on things as well.  So you can make an informed decision but it is your decision.

KYLIE: Yes.

CAROLINE: Kylie, what advice do you have for anyone who is struggling in business?

KYLIE: Hmm, yes. Business is tough, and yes, you know for owners, operators, entrepreneurs, I’ve been there myself many many times when the chips have been down. I think the key is to get the right advice at the right time – don’t bury your head in the sand.  I think you’ve got to look after yourself and your own personal energy. I’ve had a health crisis in my own life and I was pushing myself to the limit, I was under huge stress and pressure and you know this health crisis was a massive wake up call.  Often the problems are with the individual so you really have to treat yourself as the heart of the business and really look after yourself and surround yourself with people who genuinely care for you, who will pull you up when things are not going well and reach out, of course.  Everything can be fixed; I’ve very rarely seen problems in business that are not solvable.  But you cannot let things escalate out of control, you have to pull things up early. And if you are inexperienced in an area, get an opinion, get other opinion, get a third opinion. Get the ‘A team’ around you and never get yourself into a situation where you are pushing all the red warning lights and pushing the red line. You really have to avoid that at all costs.

CAROLINE: Yes, that’s really good advice. And not doing it alone, don’t believe that you are the one that’s going to solve everything.  Advice is integral.

KYLIE: And don’t worry too much if there are some failures along the way. I’ve had businesses that have gone under. It’s not the end of the world.  It might have seemed like it on the day, but you know, the whole point of being a bit of an entrepreneur is that you have to be able to pick yourself up and reach out, of course.  Don’t be too afraid if a few things go wrong. That is just the par for the course in business. But is the people who can pick themselves up, get back on course, have the right A team around them, they are the people who ultimately become successful.   It’s a marathon not a race and you really have to steel yourself with that journey that you are on, and as I said I very rarely see problems that can’t be solved by asking the right questions, asking the right people, and getting that game plan into place. The most dire situations, I’ve seen them turnaround, you’ve just got to find the right person to help you.

CAROLINE: And when you are in that situation and you are living it, you don’t look at things objectively either.  That is why that advice is so important.

KYLIE: The advisory board should be pulling you up for things that maybe you are missing yourself.  And doing a bit of a health check on you and asking ‘how are you travelling?’

CAROLINE: Yes, good advice. What steps should executives, who are interested in advising at a board level, take to secure these positions?

KYLIE: Yes, you can start by joining Directors Institute, Next Generation Directors.  We literally have thousands of board roles and access to fantastic business networks and we are really focussed on trying to help this new guard of talent come through the ranks to secure your first board roles.  We are after a whole range of skills; every skill you can think of we need. It’s not your traditional accountants and lawyers, and as I said start as early as you can thinking about this.  And it’s looking for that first initial win, and it might be in that not-for-profit space, it might even be a subcommittee or a steering committee that might be how you start and build your experience up. Or it might be in an early stage business.  And you know, just put a bit of a plan in place, starting to think about it, starting to look at board roles, and starting to look at opportunities, it’s just such fantastic experience and it gives you great perspective even on an executive role. It may provide you with experience that you can’t get within your current role and organisation. And most companies these days are actually quite supportive of top executives holding a position in some form provided there are no conflicts of interests. So, there is a lot of encouragement now to take on this sort of work, and a lot of benefits, but it does need some planning and forethought as to how you are going to put this into action.

CAROLINE: And Kylie if someone was interested in joining the Directors Institute, what would they need to do?

KYLIE: The first step is to go and have a look at our website and there are a number of free downloads that show you the types of roles that we recruit for, and you can put in an application to join the Institute.  This invitation, and I personally screen all our members and that is because I want to ensure that if we bring a member into the Institute that we will be able to place them into a board role and they do have the right skill set and credentials to pursue this pathway. I am not into giving people false hope or aspirations that they are going to get into the boardroom because not everyone is suited.  But you know we will provide our members with access to those valid roles and opportunities to the network and the opportunities to learn from their peers which is just critical.  I am not into formal training and teaching people about government and risk, that is all a bit boring, but learning from each other, and hearing the war stories and how people learned from those situations, I am a big believer in that.  And it’s just a great way to pick this knowledge up.

CAROLINE: I completely agree with you and in fact all of my learnings have been from getting advice or experiences I’ve gone through, doing the practical side of things, as opposed to the theory side of things.

KYLIE: Yes, exactly, it makes such a difference.

CAROLINE: Absolutely. And finally, what does the future look like for you and the business?

KYLIE: Look we are, I feel very fortunate, and a lot of things are all kind of coming together at the same time.  We are not an overnight success. This has been over a decade of work and different businesses that have all come together with different thoughts and ideas. At the end of the day, I am just so passionate about putting the right people in the boardroom, bringing in this new mix of skills, genders, race, cultures, young and old, I want the A team around these businesses to help them grow.  And in the long term I think we will have a big impact on ASX boards because people will start to see there is a new way of putting people around the table and the results can follow when you have this new kind of thinking about how you can leverage the power of your board, because I think a board can be incredibly powerful to a businesses’ success. So we are on a rocket ship, is kind of how I liken it. We are the fastest growing network of inspiring current board director talent, thousands and thousands of board roles, and companies contacting us every day, saying ‘I want to put together an advisory board’.  So it’s really exciting times and I think we have a really exciting opportunity to change the power around a little bit to how things have been done in the past, the old guard, the old rhetoric, oh gosh it’s so boring.

CAROLINE: I agree completely.  (Both laugh.)

KYLIE: There is a new way of doing things, my friend.

CAROLINE: That purpose, and your passion is quite evident. I can feel that and see that in the impact that you are making, so well done and certainly if there are any businesses out there listening, that haven’t considered using an advisory board then they should give you a call and have a conversation around how you can help them.

KYLIE: Yes we would love that. And we would like to partner with them to understand what they need and put that A team around them, to help then go to the next level of growth and development.

CAROLINE: Thank you so much Kylie for your time today, I really appreciate it.

KYLIE: It was my pleasure. It was a great conversation. I really enjoyed the questions.

CAROLINE: Yes I enjoyed the conversation too. Thank you!

KYLIE: Ok thanks, fantastic. Thank you.

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