Finally – your value proposition to a board of directors has been recognized and the board recruitment process is complete. And now you've been appointed for the first time to a corporate board. Congratulations are definitely in order. But where do you go from here?
Take Care of Legal Obligations: Most corporations, through their corporate secretary or general counsel, will send you a formal letter of appointment, detailing your duties and obligations as well as compensation. This letter may also include legal documents for you to sign and return, or at least outline how to obtain these necessary papers. It’s never a bad idea to have your own legal counsel review the documents on your behalf.
Acknowledge the Appointment: If they have not reached out to you already, contact the members of the Nominating Committee and thank them for the appointment and confirm your acceptance of the position. Also, reaffirm your commitment to the position and your intent to be a thoughtful and hard-working addition to the board.
Meet with the Chairman: Hopefully, the Chairman of the Board has reached out to you to offer his/her congratulations as well as the opportunity to get together. If not, reach out to the Chair and request such a meeting. Although as a result of the recruitment process you may feel that you have a sufficient understanding of the corporation and the challenges and opportunities it is facing, it is worthwhile to confirm such understanding after your appointment – and certainly before your first board meeting.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare: Before your first meeting or committee conference call, immerse yourself in the materials which are forwarded to you from other board members and the corporate secretary. Be prepared with thoughtful, pertinent questions.