Put Your Best Self Forward: Branding for the Boardroom

Martha Josephson & theBoardlist’s COO Lesley Grossblatt talk board with our attendees

Recently, together with our event sponsor Martha Josephson of Egon Zehnder, we invited members of theBoardlist community to elevate their personal brands with board-focused profiles and updated, modern headshots. During our Holiday & Headshots event our styling partners Argent and Joyus made sure everyone looked great and portrait photographer Brian DeSimone made some amazing photos.

During the event, Martha shared her insider’s view of the board search process and how to stand out from the crowd. Here are her top 5 tips on landing the board position of your dreams:

  1. Non-profit boards do not always translate to business boards— Not-for-profit boards are great if you’re passionate about the cause and if you’re open to donating to the organization. But Martha warns that most non-profit boards function very differently from for-profit boards, so it might not be as relevant.
  2. Shout your superpower from the rafters — At theBoardlist, we talk a lot about building your board brand and making sure you not only know what your superpower is, but make sure everyone else knows as well. What makes you stand out? Where are you in the top 5% of your peers?
  3. Getting the Attention of a “Big Board” —Access to big, public company boards can be difficult before you’ve reached a level of fame. Experience on smaller boards can help; Martha believes that companies away from the coasts are an untapped opportunity.
  4. Private boards are a great way to learn more — Martha stated that while private and public boards have different group dynamics and provide different experience, private boards can be a very valuable first step for those who want to serve on larger, public boards. Private boards also afford you the chance to learn and grow with a tad bit less visibility on you.
  5. Study: Directors College matters — Martha definitely looks for those who have attended Stanford Law’s 3-day Directors College, especially on resumes of those who have not served on boards before. There are other programs out there as well and the experience can help provide an overview of issues facing corporate boards.

Your personal brand is key to your business success. Having a crisp, focused profile and modern image that highlight your strengths and unique value will make the difference in helping you get noticed by boards. We’ve collected a few resources to help our community refine their personal brand: 5 Steps to a Better Board Profile, Framing Your Board Story, and theBoardlist Specific Profile Tips.


Ready to find your board fit? Visit theboardlist.com/join to learn more about theBoardlist.