Know Your Worth: Build a DIY Board of Directors

Dec 12 2018

A board of directors represents the interests of a company’s shareholders or stakeholders; to help guide the organization financially, and in accordance with its mission, toward success. A strong board of directors helps ensure that multiple perspectives from diverse members come together–bringing a wide range of knowledge and expertise– all in the pursuit of a thriving enterprise.


Now, consider yourself as a thriving enterprise. Many successful individuals create their own personal board of directors, and you can too.



  1. Create a target list for a small group of potential board members (not friends or family) who have knowledge and experience. Be aspirational, yet know you’ll likely have more success approaching people who are invested in you personally or professionally, or with whom you share a common industry or interest (rather than, say, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who has never heard of you).
  2. Craft your ask. Clearly communicate your goals and expectations for why you’ve selected them in particular. Give them specifics about what you admire about them, what you hope to learn from them, and what special something they bring to your board. Include details about your vision and structure for your DIY board (i.e. how often you’ll meet/where/when, what other members have signed on, the total tenor of their “term” on your board)
  3. Provide an action plan clearly stating your short-term and long-term goals. Report on your progress meeting to meeting. No one will invest in you unless you invest in yourself first.
  4. Invest in your board as they invest in you. Offer your own services, connections, time, and energy generously in return. Even small gestures that cost nothing can go a long way in relationship building; show up to a board member’s events, promote your board member across your social networks, foster beneficial connections, or offer yourself as a personal or professional sounding board.


In considering who to approach for your DIY BOD Richard Leidner from Fast Company recommends the following roles “Consider having one or two free agents along with a clarifier who asks clear questions, a connector who leads you to other people, a challenger who helps you act boldly, and a wise elder or sage. You want to draw upon the wisdom of people with diverse perspectives who think differently than you do”.


Laura Montini suggests 4 types of mentors for your personal Board of Directors: someone you work with, someone you aspire to be, someone from a previous (work) life, and someone who isn’t senior to you.


Carl Dorvil for Forbes advises you choose an odd number of board members to avoid tie votes in decision-making, and to always be on the look-out for new board members. He writes “The people you allow to influence you will ultimately be the ones that help set your pace in life. If you choose wisely, the next time you face a major decision, you can look confidently to your board for advice.”


Coming soon: Building Brave’s Mobile Mentoring App!

About the Author

Allison Kelley


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