The Directors' Circle: Becoming an Effective Chair programme
Date Monday, 14 November 2022
Time 14 Nov 10:00 - 22 Nov 12:00
Venue Zoom, Virtual, Online
Pricing Full Member
£ 750 Full Member
Basic Member
£ 1000 Basic Member
Corporate Member
£ 750 Corporate Member
Premium Member
£ 750 Premium Member
Directors' Circle
£ 750 Directors' Circle
Guests Not Allowed
Register by Sunday, 13 November 2022

Are you considering stepping up to Chair?

Or are you a Chair looking for a safe place to explore the unique challenges of the role?

Non-executives need to work highly independently and rely on their own judgement - this is even more true for Chairs. By developing your understanding of the complexities of the role, both practical and interpersonal, you can gain assurance that your approach is truly effective. 

Our ‘Becoming an effective Chair’ programme supports you to do just this, with a small group of your peers. Aimed at both current and aspiring Chairs, the three session programme combines leading board effectiveness research with practical experience. Both facilitators are experienced Chairs and two guest speakers, with long-time experience of chairing complex boards, will join the final session to share their insights.

This programme will equip you to step up to Chair, whether your first role or to a more complex board, and to enhance your effectiveness in the role - as well as expanding your network of experienced NEDs.

"The programme helped put a wrapper around my experience and gave me some more preparation for chairing better. Crucially there is a network of stellar fellow alumnae."

“Probably best investment of my time on a course ever! Thank you for creating an environment where I could find out what I needed to know - now and for the future.”

Programme Outline

Led by two experienced Chairs, you and a small cohort of your peers (12 participants max.) will consider lessons from current research on the Chair’s role in board effectiveness and discuss their practical application, contextualised with personal experiences.The programme will examine the Chair’s role in ensuring the board fulfils its responsibilities and overseeing board processes as well as the personal style and qualities that help make an effective Chair.

By the end of the programme you will have enhanced your network with connections to a diverse peer group of non-executive directors and Chairs.

All participants must have sufficient board experience to realistically consider a Chair position now or in future or currently be in a Chair role. The programme is relevant to all types of boards and sectors. Do get in touch if you are unsure of your suitability for this programme: contact@womenonboards.co.uk / 020 3925 4080.

The programme consists of three 2-hour virtual sessions, led by two experienced Chairs.

Session 1 is focused on the WHAT of being an effective Chair and will cover:

  • the role of the Chair in the context of the role of the board;
  • the board processes that the Chair oversees and which support the board's effectiveness: preparing for and managing board meetings; facilitating non-exec involvement outside board meetings; and the board maintenance cycle (recruitment, reviews, etc)
  • tips for chairing virtual meetings

Session 2 is focused on the HOW of being an effective Chair and will cover:
  • three core challenges to board effectiveness that a Chair needs to understand and manage: the information asymmetry between the board and management; making best use of limited board time; the complex interpersonal dynamics of the boardroom
  • the personal style and qualities that help make an effective Chair
  • managing stakeholders and the role of the Chair in a crisis

Both Session 1 and 2 will include several opportunities to discuss the content and meet other participants in small breakout groups.

Session 3 will be focused around the experience of two guest speakers with broad, cross-sector board and Chair experience.   As well as hearing from the guest speakers and interacting in a Q&A, participants will spend 15 to 20 minutes in a breakout room with each Chair.

Who should attend this workshop?

"With such a shortage of female Chairs, this initiative is much welcomed and brings excellent practical experience/ advice to help more women be prepared and motivated to aim for Chair roles."
Jacqui FergusonPortfolio Non Exec Director, Chair & Advisor, Sunday Times Dame Helen Alexander NED to Watch Winner 2018 

"A unique offer for entry-level Chairs to consider their approach to the role - the insights from such highly experienced speakers will be of tremendous value."
Monica Chadha, portfolio NED & Chair, Cranfield Woman to Watch list 2019

The programme is limited to 12 participants and is suited to:

  • Non-executives who are considering taking on a Chair position in the future and want to build a deeper understanding of the role;
  • Chairs targeting more complex Chair positions, perhaps in a different sector or of a full board;
  • Chairs seeking to develop their skills and effectiveness and understand the latest thinking around effective governance;

Given the highly interactive nature of the programme, we anticipate that participants will learn as much from each other as they do from the main speakers, as well as extending their network of peers. 

All participants must have sufficient board experience to realistically consider a Chair position now or in future or currently be in a board or committee Chair role. The programme is relevant to all types of boards and sectors. 

Do get in touch if you are unsure of your suitability for this programme: contact@womenonboards.co.uk / 020 3925 4080

Dates and Timings:


Session 1: 14th November 2022: 10am - 12pm

Session 2: 15th November 2022: 10am - 12pm

Session 3: 22nd November 2022: 10am - 12pm

All sessions will take place on Zoom.

What previous participants said:
Our 'Becoming an Effective Chair' programme launched in 2021. Feedback from the first three cohorts includes:

"The programme helped put a wrapper around my experience and gave me some more preparation for chairing better.

Crucially there is a network of stellar fellow alumnae, with a ton of sector-varied experience, a generosity of spirit to share without breaking confidentiality, and a commitment to lifting and supporting fellow women NEDs on their career trajectories."
Excerpt from blog post by Shefaly Yogendra, portfolio NED and Chair (participant in our Feb 2021 cohort)

"I am very happy I attended and I already implemented minor tweaks in my [committee] chairing."

"Thank you for such an excellent programme... I really got a lot out of it that both helped me understand past challenges and will hopefully improve future interactions."

"I have many take-aways from the three-day session and it has also highlighted areas where I could improve in interviews. A resounding success!"

The Speakers:

Workshop presenters for Sessions One and Two:

Lisa Jones:

Lisa's business life has been spent in marketing communications agencies, working on business-to-business clients across Europe. Lisa is well known in the industry for being passionate and capable. She is skilled at challenging and inspiring others which is why she was also the Board Director responsible for implementing agency personal performance training alongside her client relationship responsibilities.In addition to supporting WOB UK Ltd, Lisa is an active business angel investor. Lisa is also trustee, and Chair, for the London based charity Regenerate which helps to transform deprived communities from the inside and a NED on a CIC called The Feel Good Bakery. Lisa has also recently been appointed as the Vice Chair of her local PCC and Steering Committee and sits as an Advisor to a new creative consultancy called Flamingo Lily.

Alison Thorne: 

Alison has developed a non-executive career and is currently a Governor of Cardiff Metropolitan University; an Independent Panel Member of the Welsh Government's Public Appointments service; and a Board Member of Sport Wales. Until 2021, she was Chair of the leading equality charity Chwarae Teg and a trustee for six years.

Alison previously held executive board and leadership positions at Otto UK, George at Asda, Mothercare, Lego Retail, and  Kingfisher with B&Q. Following 2 years as a partner in a boutique executive search company, Alison set up 'atconnect' an executive search and people development company in 2010 which includes mentoring individuals at transition points in their careers.

Alison is based in Cardiff and is the Women on Boards Lead for Wales.  She delivers Women on Boards' CV Masterclass and our 'Becoming an Effective Chair' programme, as well as providing 1-on-1 Board CV reviews and mentoring across non-executive and executive careers.


Chair Speakers for Session 3:

Two of our group of experienced Chairs supporting our programme will join the final session to share their extensive experience of chairing boards. Individuals for the Jan/Feb 2022 programme will be:

Jenny Watson: 

Jenny currently chairs both GAMSTOP and the House of St Barnabas and is a board member at the Reclaim Fund Ltd, the Norfolk Community Foundation, and the Enforcement Conduct Board. She is a former Chair of both the Electoral Commission, and the Equal Opportunities Commission and has board experience from the public, private and not for profit sectors.

Our second Chair will be announced shortly.