WOB women on how to challenge a board’s status quo


How do you challenge a board’s status quo? That was the topic up for discussion when WOB COO and Director Nicole Donegan and WOB Member Philippa Taylor GAICD spoke at the Melbourne AICD Director Briefing recently.


The Melbourne briefing featured three speakers, who each spoke on different aspects of this far reaching-topic. The first speaker, Marion Macleod FAICD, Director, spoke on: 

  • What is a board succession plan and why is it important for boards.
  • Importance of developing a board skills matrix 
  • Board composition and board dynamics 
  • How does a constructive board culture create value for an organisation?

Philippa Taylor GAICD, Non-Executive Director, Western Leisure Services explored:

  • The importance of board evaluations
  • How and when do you know it’s time to change your board? 
  • How significant are the changes needed?
  • Board and committee tenure – how long is too long?

Nicole Donegan presented case studies to showcase 

  • The role of the Chair and CEO during the review/transition in creating a diverse board
  • How to create a diverse board and what are the benefits to the company? 
  • Outcomes and learnings 

This was followed by a panel discussion led by Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Ro Allen.

Case Studies

As part of her presentation, Nicole provided two case studies. The first was a disaster relief NFP, led by a valued WOB member, who needed to rejuvenate its board after government funding changes. This led to a CEO and board spill to turn the organisation around in just four years.

The second case study was a leading healthcare provider provider who had four new government-appointed board members, including a new Chair. The Chair quickly determined that the board needed to develop a tailored induction process and development plan to move the board to a more high functioning level. 

To do so she sought the assistance of GovernWith, who took them through a detailed Skills Matrix assessment. This resulted in a detailed traffic light report that highlighted each director's areas of strength and expertise, as well as areas where development was required to meet the required skills set for this board (which had been pre-determined).

The directors worked with an independent facilitator to build tailored induction plans to guide their immediate induction, education, training and development priorities throughout their tenure on the board. 

To find out more about this system, attend our GovernWith Information Session on 18 August.
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