Influencing in the Boardroom | November 15, 2017

For our second NED Talk of the WACL season we are delighted to have Fleur Evans from JCA, one of UK’s most prominent Board Head Hunter, paired with our very own Francesca Ecsery, portfolio NED . Many of us often wonder if it is really possible to influence in a boardroom as a Non-Executive Director.  What does it take to ensure that we are successful? What impact can you have when it goes well? What are the pitfalls and WACL top tips? How is it different from influencing as an executive?   With that in mind the theme for our November NED talk will be “Influencing in the Boardroom” and our speakers will be share their points of view, top tips, experience and engage in a lively discussion. The lunch event will be hosted by the lovely Pippa Glucklich on the 15 November 2017 between 12:15 and 14:00 at Starcom Media Group which is located at: Turnmill, 63 Turnmill St, London, EC1M 5RR (closest Tube station is Farringdon).

A light lunch will be provided

This is a members-only event and free of charge, capacity for the room is 20 people so please let Francesca know soonest on [email protected]  if you would like us to reserve you a seat.

Speaker Biographies

Fleur Evans – Partner, JCA

Fleur joined JCA Group as a Partner in 2007. Her focus is on Chairman, CEO and top level Executive and Non-Executive appointments across a broad range of sectors, including technology, media and communications. Previously she spent seven years at Spencer Stuart where she was a core member of the Global TMT Practice and led the UK’s Corporate Communications Practice. She has also worked in Paris as a strategy consultant for Bossard Consulting. Born in Hong Kong, Fleur is a graduate of Bristol University with a degree in Economics & Sociology. Fleur also has a Masters degree in Business from Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Paris.

Francesca Ecsery – Potfolio Non-Executive Director

Francesca is a Portfolio Non-Executive Director with expertise in Marketing and 23+ years’ experience in directing in both blue-chip companies and start-ups in the Digital / Retail / FMCG / Leisure Travel industries. Currently, Francesca is a Non-Executive Director on 5 boards, Foreign Colonial Investment Trust plc., Marshall Motor Holdings plc., Share plc., Good Energy Group plc, and VISTA ltd. She Chairs the ‘NED Talks’ workshop program for Senior Women at WACL ltd and in 2016 was shortlisted for the Financial Times NED Awards. Francesca is an investor in several start-ups, acts as advisor in the leisure travel, retail and digital marketing sectors and works as a Commercial Coach to several entrepreneurs. Francesca is also the founder and Director of Advantage Portugal (, a one-stop provider of personalised professional services to help foreigners investigate establishing homes, businesses or investments in Portugal. Prior to going plural, Francesca worked as Global Business Development Director and UK General Manager at Cheapflights Media for 4 years. She has extensive experience encompassing consultancy with McKinsey &Co, marketing with PepsiCo, general management in a range of blue-chip travel companies including STA Travel, ThornEMI, Thomas Cook and Going Places, through to entrepreneurial activity working with VCs to set up, establish and exit internet-based travel businesses such as A graduate of Geneva University in Political Science and International Relations, Francesca also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Key insights from this session

Key Takeouts from the WACL NED session on November 15 at Starcom.

We are very grateful to our 2 outstanding speakers Francesca Ecsery and Fleur Evans from JCA and thanks to our engaging host, Larissa Joy and Pippa for the venue and lunch.

The subject of our session was “Influencing in the Boardroom”.

Key Takeouts of the session:

Women are valued in Executive roles as they make things happen. We need more women CEOs and Executives to fuel the pipeline of future NEDs and Chairs. We need more female Chairs – only 6% of FTSE Chairs are women.

Finding A Role:

Boards are looking for more digital expertise. They also need HR and people expertise particularly in the Remuneration Committee.
Be visible and raise your profile.
Build relationships with headhunters.
Build advocates including your current board and Chair.
Be clear on the unique skills and expertise you would bring to a role but also show you can be a generalist and understand finance and governance.
Research deeply ahead of interviews including the Annual Report.
Do due diligence and find the right Chair and CEO.

Being Effective in the NED role:

Understand this is a different role from your Executive role.
Learn new industries and new skills.
Do a thorough induction which you may have to design yourself. Include site visits.
Mentor executives to learn the business and “look under the bonnet”of the business.
Prepare for every board meeting thoroughly. Read the papers twice and understand ahead of the board meeting. Ask questions on anything you do not understand.
Find allies on the board and network with them ahead of board meetings.
Educate the board in the areas of your strength and expertise.
In the board meeting, communicate effectively. Be brief and clear. Justify your point of view with data.
Learn the art of asking questions effectively “I am sure you will have thought of this…”
Be independent and be courageous.
Be resilient when the board does not agree with you.
Get feedback from your Chair so you can continually improve your effectiveness.
Join committees and consider the SID role in time. This is the apprenticeship for future Chairs.
Finally, be a team player and keep your ego in check.

One important tip:

If you are interrupted when speaking, keep talking.

Do not just criticise, be part of the solution.

Please note that on our website we use cookies to enhance your experience, and for analytics purposes. To learn more about our cookies, please read our privacy policy. By clicking "Allow cookies", you agree to our use of cookies. By clicking "Decline", you don’t agree to our privacy policy.