Dissecting the Path to a Coveted Board Seat

22 October 2015

By Jay Hodgkins

Business leaders who have notched long, successful careers and thrived in their field can find themselves in an unfamiliar place when looking to take the next step into a position on a corporate board.

Trying to secure that first board of directors slot can feel like the age old paradox so many young professionals face when first entering the workforce: All the quality jobs require relevant work experience, but how to develop experience without getting a job first? It’s the classic chicken or the egg.

For experienced professionals, facing that conundrum after potentially decades of building a career can be a bit vexing. However, University of Virginia Darden School of Business Dean Scott Beardsley hosted a trio of executives with a bevy of board experience at an event for Darden alumni recently in New York City aimed at helping veteran business leaders understand the steps to securing a board position and how to prepare for the responsibilities.

John A. Luke Jr., chairman of the board of directors of WestRock; Martina Hund-Mejean (MBA ’88), CFO of MasterCard and a member of the board of directors of Prudential Financial Inc. and the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees; and David Kelso, managing director of Kelso Advisory Services as well as board member for numerous private and nonprofit organization, joined Beardsley to share their advice and experiences.

With Dean Beardsley moderating, the panelists’ insights were captured at the event and are shared here as a podcast that unveils some of the secrets and best practices professionals can use to make the leap onto a corporate board.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia