Director of the Year Lel Smits: Why a board role can be a good career move


Congratulations to Women on Boards ambassador Lel Smits who has been named Director of the Year at the Momentum Media Women in Finance Awards.


Lel -  a globally experienced finance journalist, awarded entrepreneur and Co Founder of The Capital Network -  took up her first directorship with the Australian Shareholders’ Association 18 months ago and has been hailed for her commitment to inclusion as she’s worked towards advancing the financial literacy and economic advancement of women. 

One of Lel’s key achievements has been the creation and hosting of Australia’s first millennial and Gen Z investment conference championing diversity, held last year. 

Speaking to over 700 finance professionals attending the Women in Finance Awards, Lel said: “Persistence, persistence, persistence. Life is full of roadblocks, challenges and failures – but the person who persists is the person who conquers and succeeds.”

Lel said she was “completely blown away  to be recognised as the Director of the Year among so many outstanding professional women and nominees”.

“I'm so grateful to serve as a Director for Australia's oldest shareholder group and the voice of retail shareholders Australian Shareholders'‚Äč Association and inspired by the great work the organisation and its members do for the investment community,” she said, adding that she was now “more inspired than ever to celebrate and support the achievements of women in the finance sector, help Australians achieve their financial goals and drive positive and inclusive change in the industry”. 

Speaking afterwards to Women In Tech’s Pamela Connellan for Women in Tech, Lel talked about why it was so important for women to position themselves to get on boards and make a meaningful contribution, and about her role as an ambassador for Women on Boards.

“I love promoting Women on Boards and advocating for inclusion on boards as the facts speak for themselves, more diverse boards can lead to more effective risk management, stakeholder alignment and higher financial returns,” she said.

Lel Smit on why a board role can be good for your career

Lel believes all women should believe they can secure a board role if they work hard and here she highlights why considering a board role could be good for your career:

1. Point of difference

A directorship offers a point of difference when applying for a new role.

2. Opportunity

A directorship can provide opportunity to build your career and leadership skills in a way that you may not be able to in your day job.

3. Education

Contributing to directorship enables you to learn about new issues and refine governance skills.

4. Engagement

Directorship can facilitate community engagement and strengthen your leadership within the industry you operate.

5. Resilience

Directorships can improve career resilience and provide strategic understanding of workforce dynamics and the challenges of running an organisation.

6. Continuity  

If you need to take a career break at any stage, a directorship can provide career continuity and support you to maintain professional contacts.

Director of the Year, Lel Smits, Shares her top tips on why it's a good idea to join boards

Read Lel’s Lessons from the Boardroom HERE

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