How to Create Your Personal Board of Directors

It’s common knowledge that businesses and non-profits operate with the guidance of an advisory board, but what about individuals? In our recent panel discussion, MENTORS: How to Get One, How to be One, Karina Opdeyke, a Principal at Deloitte, suggested that it is important for all of us to create our own personal Board of Directors.  So who should be on your Board of Advisors?  Here is what we suggest:

  • The Cheerleader: Your hype person who always make you smile
  • The Mentor: The person who will help guide you through your career
  • The Constructive Trustee: The one who will give you the honest feedback needed
  • The Connector: The one who has made it and will connect you with others to continue developing your career
  • The Ally/Advocate: The one in the room you are not in but will speak up about you to let others know of your amazing work and talents

The concept of developing and having a board of directors is similar in many ways to how boards of directors function at organizations and companies. However, a notable difference is that your personal board members may not know that the board exists.  Your board will not work collectively together and very likely, they will not meet together. And that is fine, because a personal board of directors is just that—something that’s personal! The point is that you have thoughtfully selected members who have diverse perspectives and experiences, and who have demonstrated that they’re willing to be there for you when you need advice. They can answer your questions, promote you to their network, serve as a sounding board, help you find new opportunities, and play devil’s advocate as you consider your next move.