Understanding boardroom fundamentals as a new board director

This is the first step in the Athena Guide to Land a Board Seat. Read the full guide for additional tips and stories of how Athena helps women leaders rise into the boardroom.

Before you begin your board search, you need to shift your mindset and learn the basics of governance. This requires thinking of yourself as a “steward of the business” rather than a VP or C-Suite functional leader. It means you must learn the business of running the business, how companies are built, how they are run, how they are funded and governed.

Before you join a board, it’s important to understand core concepts like what it means to govern, committee structure and responsibilities, D&O insurance, and what will be expected from you as a board member. Learning these fundamentals positions you well for steps down the road, like strategically networking and interviewing. It also sets you up for success once you do achieve your first seat, ensuring a smoother onboarding process so you can create a positive impact and contribute confidently in the boardroom.

Before you join a board, you should understand:

  • The role of the three main committees: Compensation, Audit, and Nom/Gov.
  • The difference between private and public company boards.
  • Your responsibilities and liabilities as a board director.
  • How boards are evolving to become more modern, such as embracing a more collaborative culture, ESG, mentoring top executives, and so on.

How Athena helps aspiring directors rise into the boardroom

Athena helps women leaders like Loni Mahanta on their path to a board seat. Loni is an experienced executive, legal and policy expert, and strategic advisor formerly serving as VP of Policy Development & Research at Lyft.

Loni came to Athena in June 2020 in the midst of a career transition, embarking on a new journey as an advisor and board director. Using Athena’s Salons to get up-to-speed on boardroom fundamentals and the path to the boardroom, Loni accelerated her journey to attain a board seat in just 9 months.

Athena members gain full access to our entire Path to the Boardroom pathway, as well as a range of live and on-demand executive learning to help them understand the end-to-end of boardroom fundamentals, governance 101, and expand their business knowledge and acumen.

What our members have to say

“Athena Alliance has managed to curate some of the most relevant and engaging virtual salons for prospective board members. They aren’t your typical video webinars with a speaker, but rather experts from the Athena Alliance network who are engaging attendees around board-specific topics. No lectures, more like a dinner party on Zoom.”

-Lybra Clemens, Chief Diversity Officer at Twilio

“Athena Salons have been a highlight in my board preparedness — injecting real-world conversations, education and connections on board competencies. All in a safe and collaborative space! Love it.”

-Nithya Ruff, Head of Open Source Program Office at Amazon

Download the Athena Guide to Land a Board Seat to read all five steps aspiring directors should take to get boardroom-ready. Ready to get started on your board journey? Join Athena to unlock the entire Path to the Boardroom pathway.

Originally published at https://athenaalliance.com on June 29, 2022.



Activating the connections, knowledge, & opportunities women executives need to lead at their highest level of impact. Learn more: athenaalliance.com

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Athena Alliance

Athena Alliance

Activating the connections, knowledge, & opportunities women executives need to lead at their highest level of impact. Learn more: athenaalliance.com