Improving your Board Influence and Value

Virtual Events
Tue, Feb 23, 2021, 10:00 AM (PST)

About this event

Watch the recording here! 

And don't forget that you can continue the conversation on our discussion group! 

Ed Dandridge, CCO and SVP at Boeing, joined members to lead an incredible discussion on how to effectively work with boards, how to understand your board structure, and things to do and NOT to do in order to add value to board conversations. 

Check out the highlights: 

How have events over the past year fundamentally changed the board room conversation? 

  • A year ago, issues of inclusion and diversity on a global stage just weren't as prominent, and COVID hadn't put the world into a holding pattern quite yet, so those conversations weren't yet happening.
    • Employee health and wellness also was not being prioritized in board room conversations 
  • The events in the past year have now made the board room embrace Larry Fink's idea of "stakeholder capitalism"
    • There is now a profound shift on how boards think about their responsibility. They are no longer involved at just the shareholder level, and are now thinking about their responsibilities for the company beyond the business-side. 

How are boards structured and operated? 

  • Committee structure very rarely has a board member involved in communications or marketing directly.
    • Find the places you can influence and be aware of the issues so you can speak to it and get the invitation to come back
    • Remember that boards are not typically SME in marketing or communications, but they do have a keen eye for how the company is being positioned and that is important to remember when you work with them. 
    • "If there are things that go wrong in the marketing channel, if there is customer dissent, product recall, things that have a knock-on effect on company reputation that can effect enterprise value, you will have their attention" - Ed
  • Ask yourself the question: Is your strategy to influence the entire board or just a few key members? 
    • The answer is typically both 
      • The entire board does need to know that there is an enterprise wide marketing/comms. You are more likely to be asked for that when something goes wrong and you are called in to present on that. 
      • If there are members of the board who have external roles like non-profits, schools, etc. - those are your natural allies. They are very adept at dealing with public scrutiny and working with public stakeholder environments. 
  • Remember that every company is different on the rules of engaging with your board- always check with your general counsel on what those guidelines are. Company culture is also a big part of this. 
  • JD Dillion said, "I have found that taking ownership of a large cross-functional initiative and then leading the discussion with the board is very useful."
  • What NOT to do? Don't ask your C-suite questions during a board meeting - remember this is not a management meeting! 
    • Alan Gellman also said: "Beware the trap of the board director who comes to you offline asking what you REALLY think. Always have the CEO’s back, even if you aren’t fully aligned with them (unless of course there’s an ethical issue)."

What does all this mean for the CMO? What does success look like?

  • Turn a moment of either complexity, uncertainty or challenge into an opportunity so you can add value and be asked back.
  • When you are asked to come in and present, do your homework! 
    • CEOS and C-Suite executives have clear score cards around how the boards are evaluating them. Do your homework so you know what they are expecting from you. 
    • Always read the pre-work and do your research on the board members and their backgrounds. 
  • Find an ally and remember that no board gives you everything. 
  • "Great companies know that innovation requires risk." - Woodruff Sawyer. 

Thank you to everyone who joined, and if you weren't able to, please watch the recording! 



  • Jon Suarez-Davis

    Jon Suarez-Davis


    SVP, Marketing Strategy & Innovation