What does it take to get a seat on a board of administrators?
That was the subject of dialogue amongst Mandy Fields, chief monetary officer, E.l.f. Magnificence, Christiane Pendarvis, model president and board director, and Brianna Rizzo, expertise associate, VMG Companions, a non-public fairness agency, on the WWD x FN x Magnificence Inc Girls in Energy occasion in New York this September.
Pendarvis was most lately copresident of Savage x Fenty and reported to Rihanna. She serves on the board of publicly held His & Hers, a telehealth platform, and HootSuite, a privately held Canadian-based social media administration firm. She is on the audit committee for each of these boards, and she or he’s chair of the nominations and governance board at HootSuite.
Fields serves on the board of Allbirds and helped take them public in November 2021. She is the audit committee chair.
Individuals on the lookout for board seats have “acquired to be targeted in your profession, as a result of a board member is somebody who’s very profitable of their profession,” Fields mentioned. Professionals must also select if they will be a multidiscipline particular person or an knowledgeable, as a result of these are the 2 varieties of individuals boards are on the lookout for. “They’re both on the lookout for broad expertise or any individual who’s a deep purposeful knowledgeable. “However for me, personally, I at all times needed to be a CFO.”
When Fields was 10 years previous, she would assist her mother with the funds, “and it was probably the most enjoyable factor for me to do,” she mentioned. She made that her objective and have become a CFO at 35 and a board member by 40. “You personal the ability to comprehend your desires,” Fields mentioned.
A mom of two sons, she mentioned considered one of her sons desires to be “a profitable businessman, like his mom,” the opposite, “not a lot.”
Pendarvis mentioned she has been on the attire aspect of the style business for a few years and grew up growing product as a chief service provider and main companies. She had two excursions of obligation at The Hole and got here into Savage x Fenty as a chief product officer, the place she was operating merchandising and design, and all facets of features that fulfill the product. She acquired promoted about 9 months later to president.
“It was a life-altering expertise,” she mentioned, going from a purposeful knowledgeable targeted on merchandise to operating a whole enterprise. She went by two capital raises, elevating $240 million from non-public fairness. She discovered to handle finance, P&L, money movement, authorized and operations. She mentioned boards are involved in bettering their range, and so they’re usually on the lookout for presidents or CEOs, “and so they’re not as many people on the market as there ought to be. That was undoubtedly a feather in my cap that helped me,” she mentioned.
She mentioned constructing a community is vital to touchdown a board seat. She described how she acquired her first board position by preserving in contact with a gentleman whom she had labored for on the Hole, and had joined a brand new firm as CEO. He mentioned he was on the lookout for somebody with operational expertise to affix his board.
“He wouldn’t have recognized that if I had not stayed involved with him,” she mentioned. Each few months, she would shoot him somewhat textual content, “if I noticed one thing attention-grabbing that I knew he was involved in, or I noticed one thing about what was taking place with this firm. So preserving these relationships are mission essential since you by no means know the place that pathway goes to be lead from that relationship,” she mentioned.
Fields agreed that it’s all about relationships. Her audit associate at Deloitte launched her to the Allbirds founder, and that’s the place her first board alternative got here from.
She mentioned she will get calls on a regular basis about CFO roles, and says she’s not , however will ask them to introduce her to their board follow. She mentioned Nasdaq requires boards to be numerous, and it’s necessary to ensure your senior workforce is aware of that you’ve got board aspirations, so your CEO, or whomever you’re reporting into, can move your identify alongside in the event that they get a cellphone name a couple of board alternative.
Pendarvis had one other piece of recommendation: “Say sure quite a bit to issues you might not suppose you should say sure to.”
“That has been actually transformational for me.…I don’t know the place that’s going to steer, and what door that’s going to open,” she mentioned. For instance, she turned related to Ilana Wolfe, who runs the board follow at Goldman Sachs, when Savage was elevating capital. By that connection, Pendarvis turned a part of L Catterton’s (which backs Savage) Prism program, which is about mentoring for girls.
Fields and Pendarvis famous that board work requires plenty of work.
HootSuite, for instance, was contemplating an IPO when Pendarvis joined the board, however 9 months later needed to lay off a 3rd of its workers. The pandemic hit and issues had dramatically shifted. “From the time that they needed to lay off a 3rd of its workers, our board met each single week for six months. As a result of the corporate was actually in dire straights. There’s no means I might have predicted that was going to occur after I signed on, however I knew that’s at all times a chance. And that’s what you’ve signed up for. So you need to be very, very clear about your why. And desirous to get into the trenches and understanding your obligation as a board director and construct your story round what you’re going to carry to the desk,” she mentioned.
“I like that as a result of I believe typically individuals see board directorship as glamorous,” added Fields. “However I prefer to say there’s a distinction. Individuals name it sitting on a board. It’s not sitting on a board, however serving on a board. There’s a ton of labor that goes into being a board. It’s nearly like having a second job.”