Due Diligence Before Joining a Board - Maryann Bruce

Maryann Bruce — an experienced corporate board director and a dynamic and collaborative leader, has had years of experience during her tenure as a Fortune 100 Division President and CEO. Through her work, she has collected numerous career and life lessons.

We are in conversation with Maryann Bruce to learn more about her experience and views on corporate boards.

In this part of the conversation, Maryann shares her view on due diligence before joining a board.

“Congratulations! You have just been notified that you have been chosen to interview for a board position. Now what? What type of due diligence should you do on the organization? It is very important that you do your homework on the company and on the board of directors. You should always Google the firm and find out as much as you can. You should go through the website and social media — this will help you better understand the firm’s strategy, vision, mission, and core values. It will ensure it’s the type of firm that you want to be affiliated with.

“Most organizations have an investor relations section on their website — it contains important information — news and events, etc. I would encourage you to review those because there may be a major acquisition that just happened or something else you need to be aware of before you step into the interview.

“You will also find a section on leadership. Who’s on the executive leadership team? Take a look — maybe you know somebody. Look at the board of directors, maybe you know them! Try doing a LinkedIn search to see if you know any employees at the company. Reach out to people to find out more about the company — what they like and don’t like, the company culture, and so on. Weave in these connections in your interview, it will help build credibility and rapport. This section will also have relevant documents such as company by-laws. If the firm is publicly traded, there will be additional information like investor resources. There may be scripts, financial information, stock prices, and frequently asked questions along with the answers.

“The goal isn’t to know everything, instead it’s to have a solid understanding of the organizational structure, the company history, and their products and services. I’d encourage conducting research on the industry and key competitors. This can help you spot important trends.

“Lastly, if applicable you may want to buy or try the product or service provided by the company. This will provide first-hand knowledge and experience. Good luck.”

Thank you, Maryann. This is valuable for someone who is preparing for a board interview.

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