Ilona Meyer’s X Factor: More than ‘just a lawyer’ 

 

With more than 25 years of experience both as a general counsel and senior executive in healthcare and emerging technologies Ilona Meyer has held executive roles with private and public companies, including ASX-listed companies and dynamic high-growth start-ups. 

Ilona has just shared her new role as incoming global General Counsel and Company Secretary of Nuix Limited (ASX:NXL) and is also a NED and Member of the Audit and Risk Committee of Micro-X Limited - an ASX-listed X-ray technology company. She is also part of the current WOBSX Sydney syndicate, being chaired by Leanne Heywood. She is also active with the International Paralympic Committee (Independent Member of the Nominations Panel); Disability Sports Australia Ltd (Chair - Governance Committee and Non-Executive Director); Hoxton Industries Ltd (Chair and Non-Executive Director); and Karting NSW Inc (Former Chair and Non-Executive Director). Interesting fact: When she’s not busy working in a legal or NED capacity, cereal-lover Ilona admits to craving the odd bowl of Fruit Loops to help destress at the end of a busy day. 

When and why did you decide to pursue boards?

After working as a lawyer and company secretary for a listed board, I was determined to broaden my skill set, as I thought I had more value to bring to an organisation than being 'just a lawyer'. I also enjoyed the broader strategic discussions and having the ability to influence the direction and success of an organisation.

As a legal expert, what made you take a med-tech NED role with Micro-X?

After spending much of my executive career as a general counsel in healthcare and technology companies, Micro-X excited me as an Australian med-tech organisation that has amazing technology and an appetite for doing some great things for patients and humanity. Its purpose is real and I thought my experience would benefit the company with its planned expansion into international markets.

What areas of expertise do you feel you bring to the board table?

I bring a wealth of experience as both an in-house lawyer and senior executive, having worked in the healthcare and emerging technology sectors for over 25 years. My experience working as an executive within both private and public companies (including ASX-listed companies) as well as high growth start-ups, has allowed me to bring insight for organisations seeking business transformation, careful management of multiple stakeholders, influencing industry bodies as well as strategic navigation of complex transactions. I bring an authentic passion for the development and empowerment of high performance teams, while balancing legal and governance compliance.  

What hurdles have you had to overcome in your board journey?

Some not-for-profit boards can often be very operational and feel like you've taken on another full time job - so it is important you carefully select the right board for you and be realistic on the time commitments involved.

What do you most like about your board roles?

The ability to contribute to the strategic direction and success of an organisation;  to learn through navigating organisational challenges; growing and developing my director networks and working with great and clever people.

How has WOB helped you on your board journey?

Without a doubt WOB has been instrumental in my director journey. Getting your CV board ready is a fundamental must-have! I attended the Build Your Board CV workshop - received some fatally honest feedback and thank goodness I took it all on board! In addition, the WOBSX course that I have almost completed, chaired by Leanne Heywood, has been outstanding. What an amazing opportunity to associate with such awesome women - all on the same pathway to success. 

What advice do you have for others starting out on their board journey?

  • Definitely nail your Board CV (it is an ongoing work in progress)
  • Don't be afraid to seek feedback
  • Deal with any imposter syndrome concerns (because you know you can really do this)
  • Support other women on their journeys.
  • It's never too early or too late to start
  • Get involved with WOB - you will learn amazing things and meet amazing people.

Can you tell us something other people might not know about you?

I still have a craving for the odd bowl of Fruit Loops to help me deal with a stressful day! It seems some childhood experiences never end :)