Two Years of Great Advice
A little over two years ago we set off to level up our company through the creation of an Advisory Board. Always the type who like to get things right, we did a little research and set out to find the most amazing candidates that we could convince to join our board. We are happy to say that two years later our board has grown to seven incredible members, with three new board members joining this quarter: Charles Wilhoite, Reggie Wideman & Taufik Ma. They join our already impressive four person group of Amanda McPherson, Jeff Hopper, Mark Moreland & Sandra McDonough.
I don't think it is possible to overstate how transformational the Advisory Board has been for our company. For us, the Board is a vehicle for reflection and great advice which has helped us with organizational maturity, revenue, growth, recruiting, diversity, community, and national recognition - as well as helping to the ethical core of what the company is today. The members of our Advisory Board are a point of pride for our employees and have also provided great role models to our team across the broad cross-section of areas of expertise they represent.
If your company is thinking about creating an Advisory Board, do it. If you haven't considered it, I recommend starting the process. For us it has been an important part of our growth, while helping us to remain true to the values and mission that made us who we are today.
To anyone thinking of doing this, I'd recommend reading on the topic and I'd add the following nuggets of advice:
- Diverse experience
- Aim high
- Be prepared
1. Diverse Experience
From the start we aimed to put together a board with experience across a variety of fields - especially where we were inexperienced. Drawing someone from tech, finance, marketing, operations, and the Portland community has been fantastic.
2. Aim High
We were always ambitious about the caliber people that we asked to join us. Despite starting this quest when we were at a relatively small size, we were able to attract some amazing folks with C-level experience from some incredible organization. I've found that successful people are often willing and even eager to give back, so aim high!
3. Be Prepared
Give plenty of time and thought to the questions you want to ask of your Board, and the reports that you prepare for them. No matter how generous, the people that you want on your board are extremely busy and their time is precious. By preparing well you can make the most out of their time and wisdom. And don't just report! Be sure that for every Board Meeting you surface some important questions or action items that you could use some help on.