Demystifying the world of NEDs


Our Demystify the World of NEDs session was well received, with 57 attendees joining to learn from our expert panel.

Sarah Pierman from Dynamic Boards shared her own experience of becoming an NED in her 20’s.  

She was frustrated around the lack of access to board roles, unless you paid huge sums, resulting in a lack of equality and diverse representation.  

This led to her creating Dynamic Boards, where access to NED roles in UK is free and also provides valuable guidance, insights and peer support.

Thomas Saltiel from XTend shared this own experience of being an NED, encouraging those interested to ‘Walk the Talk’.

The importance of understanding Governance was stressed by Sue Milton, an experienced NED and Board Advisor.  Know what you are going into and be committed.

Our experts all stressed the need to research, apply for roles that align with your values, interests and skills and gain exposure to the NED world before applying.

Preparation, Persistence and Purpose are key to success

Please see further advice and links to useful resources:

Sign up (for free) to view the links on Dynamic Boards:

And if you are an advertiser, you can advertise your role with Dynamic Boards:

Join our monthly Non-Executive Director community meetups:
CV and cover letter
Thomas' mention of a current gov crisis

XTEND - The Executive Network - has an NED special interest group with events throughout the year about the NED space

Understand the Governance Code - Financial Reporting Council -

Here are some top tips that were shared during the session:

Consideration for being an NED:

  • Don’t apply to be an NED simply to enhance your CV
  • Be interested and or passionate about the organisation you are applying to and their work
  • Broaden your knowledge about NED work before applying
  • Prepare by researching NED opportunities, reading NED job specs, talking to NED about their roles so you understand what is required
  • Find opportunities to observe a board in action (such as NHS Trust Public Board Meetings)
  • Understand Governance and your responsibilities as an NED
  • Be realistic - Roles may not be remunerated at first, but will give valuable experience to go on to further paid roles
  • Double the time commitment any job advert declares, as you will spend more time preparing and dealing with correspondence than you think
  • Be prepared to attend in person meetings, most Boards meet in person at least once a year, some more often
  • Appreciate if there is a ‘crisis’ the board will be heavily involved in the response/resolution and you must be prepared to commit this time

Preparing to be an NED:

  • Prepare an NED specific CV and Cover Letter (advise and guidance on Dynamic Boards -
  • Tailor your CV to the NED work and the opportunity by thinking about your transferable skills
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if you need any adjustments during the process
  • Follow Board moves, look at the background of those on boards and get ideas on how you can create your path
  • If working, ask your Company if they will release you to be an NED as part of your professional development
  • Boards are increasingly looking for diversity, is this something you can bring.  (NOTE, all are welcome, so if you are a middle-aged white man please apply)
  • Research the organisation and be sure you have a genuine interest in their work or believe you can contribute what they need
  • In addition to their website, LinkedIn and news research look at Glassdoor reviews to get a sense of how employees feel about their organisation
  • Be persistent and show commitment to the process

Book recommendation:  Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking, by Matthew Syed

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