The Women on Boards bursary programme - supporting more women into the boardroom.
The only barrier to the boardroom should be talent. Yet, women have been shut out of making the decisions that shape our world for too long. Women on Boards exists to help women overcome the hurdles to contribute their skills and perspective as non-executive directors.
We are offering six complimentary places on our signature Boardroom Journey, each worth £1282, to women who would not otherwise be able to afford it.
Applications to our 2021 Bursary Programme have now closed.
We have received over 250 applications for our 2021 Bursary Programme. We're hugely impressed with the determination, expertise and passion displayed. Thank you to everyone who took the time to apply.
As you can imagine, we will need a little time to consider the applications, supported by First Flight Non-Executive. We will contact shortlisted candidates in late-April for an informal interview to determine whether our Bursary Programme is what they need to achieve their goals. The successful six participants will be announced in May 2021.
The Bursary programme is generously supported by Boudicca from Equiniti.
We also thank Paul Drechsler, Sally-Ann Hibberd, Vanda Murray OBE DBA and Nigel Pantling
highly-experienced board Chairs, for waiving their speaker-fee at our ‘Becoming an Effective Chair’ programme (Feb and May 2021 cohorts) to contribute to our Bursary Programme.
"The Women on Boards bursary has been life-changing for me. More than anything it demonstrated and validated how a portfolio career could work as an option for me.. And I am now well on my way to creating one.”
Linda Owen, 2020 Bursary participant
Women on Boards has helped over 2,000 women into the boardroom – women who are now guiding business, finance, health services, government, schools and charities across the country.
We offer information, advice and connections to help women secure roles as non-executive directors, governors and trustees.
"Women on Boards has really helped me understand which of my skills as an engineer are relevant to a non-executive role." Lila Vazquez Villamor, 2020 Bursary participant
Our Bursary Programme is generously supported by Boudicca from Equiniti, who said:
"We’re delighted to support the Women on Boards Bursary for a second year. Diversity of thought around the Boardroom leads to better decision-making, and we've seen how this initiative brings further positive change in helping more women make the most of their professional skills.
Equiniti has a strong pedigree of appointing women to the Board and senior positions of leadership within the Company, and we’re proud to continue to be part of a programme that supports women in contributing their talents at NED level."
We also thank Paul Drechsler, Sally-Ann Hibberd, Vanda Murray OBE DBA and Nigel Pantling - highly-experienced board Chairs - for waiving their speaker-fee at our ‘Becoming an Effective Chair’ programme (Feb and May 2021 cohorts) to contribute to our Bursary Programme.
Who should apply?
Women from all backgrounds have a huge amount to contribute. Whatever your career stage, professional or life experience, there is a board which will value your input. Women on Boards can help you find it and put yourself forward with confidence.
“The Women on Boards bursary opened up the world of non-executive directorship to me at just 22 years old. .. I feel I have discovered a whole new career path that can run parallel to my executive work.”
Rituja Rao, 2020 Bursary participant
Our Bursary Programme aims to support women who have relevant experience, in any sector, but would not otherwise be able to afford our support. Specific eligibility criteria are detailed on our application form.
“Overall, my learning through the bursary programme has helped me consider opportunities in a different way and given me a long-term outlook on developing my NED career.” Anna Hegarty, 2020 Bursary participant
Some women combine a board role with career breaks, to keep using their professional skills and provide some continuity on their CV. We know it makes it much easier when it is time to return from your break.
Others may need the flexibility a portfolio career can offer, including income from paid board roles. Even with unpaid board experience under your belt, we know the step up can be tough to make on your own.
Women who are early in their career can gain strategic leadership experience through a board role. Community organisations’ boards value specialist expertise - in HR, finance, marketing and more - but you need to know how to put yourself forward as a prospective non-executive.
"Thinking about what type of board I would be interested in, and why, has also been a key part of the journey. I’m keen to find a board role [that supports] the progress towards a zero carbon future, a sector I’m passionate about." Lila Vazquez Villamor, 2020 Bursary participant
If you know a woman with board potential, please do suggest she applies. And, if you are eligible, do apply yourself. What have you got to lose?
What does the bursary involve?
Women on Boards Bursary aims to give you all the support you need to find the right board role for you - and put yourself forward with confidence to secure it. Each place is worth over £1,200.
“The quality of the support from Women on Boards is amazing. I found it offered a highly professional level of expertise, but combined with a really personal touch.” Linda Owen, 2020 Bursary participant
Women on Boards Bursary comprises one year's full membership of our network; places at our signature events to expand your knowledge and connections; access to our online resources and Vacancy Board; plus our unique 1-on-1 support along your journey.
All Bursary participants will need the determination and drive to pursue their unique board career. Each individual can shape our support to suit their personal priorities, needs and goals.
“I really appreciated how flexible the bursary programme is - you can prioritise the parts that are most useful to you and work at your own pace.” Rituja Rao, 2020 Bursary participant
How are the successful participants selected?
We have received over 100 applications each year since we launched our Bursary Programme in 2019. The passion, determination and broad range of skills and experience among the applicants is truely impressive, so you can appreciate it will take a little time to select just six successful participants.
Women on Boards and Executive search firm, First Flight Non-Executive Directors,
will select six successful applicants.
We will prioritise those applicants who can make best use of our support and show enthusiasm and determination to progress a non-executive career.
“Despite having no formal non-executive experience, I have secured interviews for competitive NED roles, I believe, because my experience is now framed so effectively on my Board CV.” Anna Hegarty, 2020 Bursary participant
We will contact shortlisted candidates in late-April for an informal interview to determine whether our Bursary Programme is what they need to achieve their goals.
The successful six participants will be announced in May 2021.
Thank you to our supporters
The Women on Boards Bursary Programme 2021 is generously supported by Boudicca from Equiniti, a specialist shareholder engagement company.
A leader in the growing arena of investor communications, and based in London, Boudicca works to secure maximised proxy voting and participation in shareholder meetings and corporate transactions. Boudicca has worked on over 600 AGMs, EGMs and M&A transactions for clients in the UK, Europe, North America and crossborder since inception ‐ including some of the most complex proxy voting cases and corporate transactions ‐ and delivers a high rate of success. Find out more about Boudicca from Equiniti
We also thank highly-experienced board Chairs - Paul Drechsler, Sally-Ann Hibberd, Vanda Murray OBE DBA and Nigel Pantling - for waiving their speaker-fee at our ‘Becoming an Effective Chair’ programme (Feb and May 2021 cohorts) to contribute to our Bursary Programme.
We are also grateful to First Flight Non-Executive Directors for offering their perspective on our shortlisted candidates.
More about Women on Boards Bursary programme
2021 is the third year Women on Boards has offered a bursary programme.
>> Find out more about the 2020 Bursary programme here.
>> Find out more about the 2019 Bursary programme here.
To hear more about the Bursary programme and access tips, information and inspiration to support your board career, please join the Women on Boards network for free (via our Basic Membership option).