Kerrie Williams is a Non-Executive Director, with current board roles in the financial services sector. She has more than 30 years’ experience in financial services and retail, focused on business strategy and operational leadership. During this time she has also been a professional adviser to the boards of institutional investors on investments, risk and governance. She has a strong track record of shaping and leading teams and culture through change, and delivering complex strategic projects. In recognition of her contribution within the industry, Kerrie was awarded ‘Superannuation Executive of the Year’ in the 2017 Women in Financial Services Awards.
Kerrie holds a Bachelor of Science, a Masters of Business Administration and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
what boards and committees do you currently sit on?
I’m currently a Non-Executive Director with U Ethical Investors, a funds management business and social enterprise, where I am also a member of the Investment Committee and the People and Nominations Committee. I also serve as an Independent Member on the MAV Insurance Board, which oversees the provision of specific insurance to local government and statutory authorities.
When and why did you decide to pursue boards?
In 2016, I mapped out an approach to prepare myself for board roles – talking to experienced Directors, joining Women on Boards and completing the AICD Company Directors course in early 2017.I saw it as a natural next step to my strategic executive role and was keen to leverage my 20 years’ experience working closely with boards and the insights I’d gained into effective governance and decision making.
What challenges and hurdles have you had to overcome in pursuing board roles and/or serving on boards?
The timelines for board appointments vary considerably and some processes can take a long time to work through.Patience and persistence are essential!
Have you had mentors and/or sponsors and have they helped you? if so, how?
I have had a number of mentors who have provided useful guidance over the years, but the support of a sponsor has been particularly valuable. While being a helpful sounding board, very practical support has been provided through advocating on my behalf within their networks.
How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?
It was through WOB that I connected with someone who helped me rework my CV to focus more clearly on what I could bring to a board role, highlighting experiences and achievements that I might not have otherwise emphasised. WOB’s listing of board roles has been an important avenue for identifying potential roles but has also raised awareness of the variety of roles that are out there and the skills that are being sought.
Any tips for women starting out their journey to the boardroom?
Recognise that boards have a range of priorities and meet infrequently, so the journey it takes to find a position can be a long one. In the interim, take steps to identify and clearly articulate your value proposition for a board, undertake relevant governance or technical courses to address any skill gaps, gain experience working in a group decision making environment, network in a way that suits you (whether that be seeking a referral and arranging a coffee or attending larger networking events) and don’t be afraid to ask for help.