Women Get On Board is a leading member-based company that connects, promotes and empowers women to corporate boards. WGoB achieves this through an engaged community of women and men in Canada who are committed to advancing gender diversity in the boardroom. Webnames.ca President and CEO Cybele Negris, who serves on a number of boards and councils such as the Royal Canadian Mint and BC Small Business Taskforce, recently sat down with Women Get on Board to discuss her journey to Board service, share insights for women (and men) seeking board opportunities and unpack how her entrepreneurial background shapes her impact.
Below are a few excerpts from Cybele’s interview with Women Get On Board.
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What filters do you use to help decide if a Board opportunity is a good investment of your time and energy?
#1 is alignment with what I do: helping women or technology entrepreneurs. Those are very much aligned with my values are in terms of giving back. I’ll always look at those ones. The second point is impact. Can I make a big enough impact, or is there somebody else that I can think about introducing to the Board? It doesn’t have to be me. I know enough people now who can do it without me, so that’s another good filter. And, third, corporate Boards would be a good next step for my own career development.
What advice do you have for women just starting their Board journey?
Join a formal mentorship program. WXN (the Women’s Executive Network) has a great mentorship program that gives you access to Canada’s Top 100 Powerful Women. You can’t access those people unless you join a program like that. The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs also has a great mentorship program, more on the entrepreneurial side but a lot of their mentors also come from corporate. Consider seeking more than one mentor from more than one network. You’re getting supplementary or complementary advice for where you need to go. Another good early step is to join a not-for-profit or volunteer board to learn some governance experience.
What are the next steps you will take to move from not-for-profit to corporate Boards?
Put together a good Board resume. I’m planning on taking the ICD course now, and I hope that will be helpful in building my Board resume. Groups like Women Get On Board and getting on lists like Diversity 50 are helpful in getting corporate Board opportunities.
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The full interview, including Cybele’s advice for women starting their board journeys and how to best prepare for board service, is available on the WGoB website alongside other inspiring member interviews and a wealth of resources, training, and information aimed at helping women get that first, or fifth, board position. Learn more about their mission and services here.