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Reasons for an Executive to Join a Board of Directors

by Linda Ray, studioD

Nonprofit organizations have boards of directors, as do public and private corporations. While few board positions pay a salary, it is possible to land a spot on a well-paid board if you are highly qualified for the position. For the most part, however, most executives join boards for other personal and professional reasons.

To Build Relationships

You’ll be in a position to develop unique access to other executives and community professionals. While sharing similar goals and beliefs, you can build long-lasting and lucrative relationships with other board members, members of the organization you oversee and community leaders you come in contact with through the board. Board membership provides an inside track to potentially productive networking opportunities that could help earn business for your company.

To Boost Career Opportunities

In addition to the relationships executives build while serving on a board, board membership allows them to practice and hone their business acumen. The experience looks good on a resume and can give you the chance to practice and develop new skills that aren’t strong on your current CV. Leadership, budgeting, community relations and fundraising are just some of the skill sets boards need from members. You may encounter a more seasoned executive who can serve as a mentor and learn more about other industries from your fellow board members.

To Serve the Community

Board membership is an ideal opportunity for executives to perform philanthropic duties. It can be a rewarding experience, especially if you serve on the board of a nonprofit organization for which you’re passionate about or to lend your skills to a start-up corporation. You can play a role in any number of charities that work with the poor, children or medical research, for instance. You can also serve on the board of your church to guide its future or choose a group that serves a cause close to your heart.

To Gain Prestige

Being on the board of directors for an institution like a prestigious art museum or highly touted university can bring you prestige and boost your community standings. Executives with seats on prestigious boards can garner community influence in other arenas too, such as in local politics and business development. Prestigious board seats often come with a financial requirement on your part, which signals your wealth and standing in the community. Being a member of one prestigious board also can lead to other board invitations that you may be seeking.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

Photo Credits

  • Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images