NED basics/getting NED ready with Sharon Baylay | November 2, 2020

The path to becoming an NED is not as obvious as one might think and so to help us all navigate this world, and to “get NED ready” Sharon Baylay is going to lead us through a workshop to help us to think through why we want to become a Non-Executive Director (NED), and to help us actively plan how to achieve this.

We will discuss how to think about an NED role as part of your Personal & Professional Development and future career, the pro’s and con’s of becoming an NED, how to think about developing your strategy and approach and what you need in your “NED kit bag” in order to succeed.

Sharon Baylay Biography

Portfolio Non-Executive Director & Coach Sharon runs a plural career and is currently Non-Executive Director at Market Tech Holdings Ltd, Restore PLC and ITE Group PLC.  Sharon also runs her own business specializing in Senior Leadership Coaching and Mentoring services. Sharon is an Advanced Coach & Mentor, accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and is also a holder of the FT/Pearson Non-Executive Director Diploma. Sharon’s executive career encompasses 15 years at Microsoft Corporation where in her role as European Marketing Director she re-launched the MSN Brand and took the No.1 online portal position throughout Europe. Aged 35, Sharon won the coveted Bill Gates Chairman’s Award for creating a sustainable online business model and as a Regional General Manager opened new MSN businesses throughout the America’s, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Subsequently as Managing Director of the UK Online and Advertising business Sharon initiated the acquisition of the online search business – Multimap UK. More recently in her executive role as Director of Marketing, Communications and Audiences for the BBC Sharon was responsible for the strategic direction of the BBC brand portfolio and in a period of significant transition for the organisation led all internal and external communications, re-organised the marketing team and oversaw significant cost reductions in staff and budget. Sharon has done three turnaround roles as a Managing Director, led a significant acquisition and several other integrations and worked in every market internationally (except Japan). Sharon’s previous Board career includes Non-Executive Chairman Dot Net Solutions, Non-Executive Chairman – Havas EHS, Non-Executive Member of BBC Worldwide, Freesat and Digital UK and Executive Board Member of BBC Corporation and Microsoft UK Ltd. Sharon is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Session Key Insights

Sharon Baylay ran a practical and engaging workshop on “Getting NED ready” on November 2, 2020.

You need to develop your “NED ready” kitbag. Start by thinking of a company or organisation you would love to be on the board of then think why you want to join a board. Key reasons may include to gain new skills, to gain experience that add value to your day job, to give back or to change career to a portfolio career. An interviewer is looking for you to give a compelling answer to the questions “Why you?”  “Why this company?” and “Why now?You need to turn yourself into the perfect candidate for the role – marketing yourself. This can be a challenge but a friend, colleague or client can help. Focus on 3 critical qualities you can offer. Mirror the qualities in the job spec. Summarise what you can offer in one sentence. Bring your passions. Practice it aloud to check it is memorable and authentic. Do not be modest. Keep your Exec skills current. Courses can help on emerging subjects like ESG. It can be challenging to build rapport on Zoom.

Do your homework: 

  • use your network of contacts and do not hesitate to contact people who can help. Ask about “the good, the bed and the ugly”. 
  • read interviews and check content on YouTube and online
  • research all social media and online channels
  • read Glassdoor for employee feedback
  • understand the industry and ask competitors. Be honest about your fit with the company, the culture and the Chair once you have met them.Check their is a good fit and this is still your dream role!

Thank you Sharon for a great interactive workshop and so many practical tips to help us all in our searches.

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