Ready now? Let’s go Into the Boardroom

Into the Boardroom identifies the six qualifications common to successful candidates for a director’s seat, and explains how accomplished businessmen and women can get their first seat on a corporate board.


Until recently, America’s boardrooms have remained closed to all but a handful of directors “in the club.” Now, former Fortune 500 executives Dorothy Light and Katie Pushor reveal an insider’s look at what goes on in the boardroom and how you can get there. CEOs and directors from some of America’s most prestigious corporations share their stories of what really goes on behind closed doors, who gets selected to sit on a board and who doesn’t, and why being a part of this influential group should be the goal of today’s up and coming executives, professionals and community leaders.

What people are saying about Into the Boardroom

Do I have what it takes?

Are you a candidate for service on a corporate board today? In the future? We wrote this book to answer that question for you and to advance the concept of board service as a career goal among a broader and more diverse pool of talent than has been considered in the past.

As part of our research, we interviewed current and former CEOs and directors whose experience represents more than 100 corporate governance structures. Those interviewed included veterans of Fortune 500 boards, small and mid-cap publicly traded companies, venture-backed start-ups and large privately held corporations across the United States.

We learned what works well in the boardroom and what doesn’t. They told us what makes an effective director, what qualities and skills are important in the boardroom and what a CEO really wants from the board and from the individual director. We also picked up some practical advice about what doesn’t work and what pitfalls a new director should avoid.

Quotes from Into the Boardroom

Are you ready?

Corporate America needs to take a long, hard look at the significance of effective corporate governance and the individuals in whom they have placed this important trust. The financial press appears ready to keep up the pressure, and the headlines, until they do. The result will be an ongoing need for talented, experienced individuals with the integrity and willingness to accept a seat at the table. Currently, more than 50,000 positions exist for the directors of companies traded on the NYSE, NASDAQ and AMEX exchanges. At least another 20,000 seats exist around the tables of America’s largest privately held companies. Who occupies these seats? What do they do? How were they selected? Could one of them be you? It’s time for you to find out.

Why bother?

Because what happens in the boardroom makes a difference.  Healthy, prosperous, innovative corporations are the backbone of a vibrant American economy. Successful corporations are the result of a unique, three-way relationship between the shareholders (who provide the capital), the management (who provided the vision and the human resources), and the customers (who purchase the goods or services produced). Board members balance these interests. When this engine is running smoothly, the results are limited only by our imagination—we can create jobs, invent gadgets, feed the world, cure disease, make movies, or send a man to the moon. When this engine runs amok, the results can be devastating to entire communities as jobs are lost, retirement savings evaporate, and investor confidence is shaken to the core.

The pressure is building on today’s boards to enhance the quality and caliber of their members, just as pressure is mounting on those members to do a better job. Recent tales of director incompetence and accounting irregularities, reported in the business press, have heightened public concern.  Many of these directors appear to have been over-worked with simultaneous responsibilities, stressed from the pressure of doing too much in too little time, or simply too trusting of the senior management or CEOs who mislead them.

This inattention by boards of directors—and their unwillingness to challenge current CEOs and their practices—can result  in write-downs, lay-offs, poor financial performance, reduced dividends, stock price declines, and, in some cases, the bankruptcy or complete collapse of a corporation. In response to these unfortunate outcomes, savvy corporations are re-evaluating their boards and reaching out for talented and vigorous new directors.