Dynamic Boards – Our Story

For the last ten years I’ve heard many people talk about improving the diversity on UK boards. I’ve been to countless diversity events, sat on panels as someone who has broken the glass ceiling, and heard endless discussions on the state of UK boards. But I’ve never heard a candid, public discussion on the problems with non-executive director recruitment.

The idea for Dynamic Boards came about when I began looking for my second board role. I discovered that several websites were only showcasing non-executive director vacancies to those who paid a fee. In some cases they were charging as much as £500 a year. I was shocked to find this ‘paywall’ model at the highest levels of corporate governance in the UK.

Just imagine if a company like Google advertised its vacancies on a website that you had to pay to access. We’d say that was discrimination at its most blatant; we’d see public uproar. But somehow, when board vacancies are advertised behind pay walls, it goes unchallenged.

I spoke to everyone I could: current NEDs, Chairs, potential NEDs, search firms and researchers, and asked them what they thought about NED recruitment. There was a strong consensus that boards need a good mix of skills, experiences and perspectives.

The problem is that there are lots of challenges to making this happen. Many boards don’t evaluate what viewpoint they are missing, some boards recruit from their own networks, the market is London-centric and FTSE-centric, most board roles are not advertised publicly, we need more NED role models and inspiration… the list goes on.

Every day I meet people who would be great NEDs and are eager to apply, but who don’t have access to vacancies; they don’t know the right people and they feel disconnected. Many of the CEOs, Chairs and NEDs I speak to would genuinely like a better mix of applicants but struggle to find them.

In direct response to this I developed a ‘jobs board’ showcasing NED vacancies to candidates for free. Whilst making it free solved the practical access issue for those who were shut out from exploring becoming an NED, it’s clear we needed to go one step further. I set out to create an inclusive community to inspire those who might previously have not considered NED work, to join the community and apply for roles and to level the playing field for existing NEDs looking for their next role.

Whilst I have launched a disrupter to the NED recruitment market, I’m not from a recruitment background. I’m a banker-turned-entrepreneur with experience as an advisor, non-exec and vice-chair on three company boards. My first Non-Executive Director role was on a specialist bank’s board, at age 29, somewhat breaking the traditional stereotype of Non-Exec roles coming at the end of a long career! I’m motivated by a conviction that the pathway to UK boards needs shaking up, and the traditional view of who can be a Non-Executive Director needs to be reimagined. The UK needs more dynamic boards!

If this excites you too. Please get in touch!

Sarah Pierman
CEO Dynamic Boards


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