Every Board Needs a CHRO

When it comes to the demographic makeup and the capabilities of boards, many are still business as usual — or going in the wrong direction.

Even as talent continues to be a top priority at the board level, only 8% of Russell 3000 boards have an HR representative — and more than half of those joined between 2019 and 2021. 

Today’s boards are stacked with relevant experience for priorities related to finance, risk, and M&A. When they need financial experience or an Audit Committee chair, they’ll bring on a CFO. When a board needs a Comp Committee chair or professional expertise to address their talent issues, the professional role that will bring that key capability to the table is a CHRO or Chief People Officer.

This community has an opportunity to support one another in bringing more HR representation to boards. If you’re a CHRO on a board now, please share your journey with others so they can learn. If you’re looking to join a board, read some of my thoughts below and stay tuned because I’ll be sharing more tips from this community that can help you shape your own path.


Tips for CHROs and Chief People Officers looking to Join Boards


1) Do your homework

Just like you would for any career opportunity, spend some time thinking about what kind of industry and company you’d like to join, as well as what culture will best align with your experience and values. Boards come in different shapes, and companies deal with ups and downs. You’ll want to be honest about what kind of environment you’re looking for.

2) Tell people you want to be on a board

It sounds simple, but start telling people around you that you want to start joining boards. We’re a well-connected community, and if you start letting people know that they should keep you in mind when they run a company someday or hear about an opportunity, you’d be surprised what can turn up. 

In my case, I let the leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates know that I was interested in joining boards. They remembered me and ended up connecting me to Griffith Foods, where I hold a board seat today.

3) Show up to places where people are selecting boards 

This might seem less intuitive, but it’s worth finding out where CEOs gather where you can share your point of view. If you’re wondering, “How can I find out where and how board members are selected?” try talking to your CEO and others in your network to help point you in the right direction.

For me, that meant offering my point of view to the founder of Cornerstone OnDemand while we were in line at an event buffet. I was lucky that they had an open seat on their board, and I’ve been with them ever since.

I’m excited to hear more about your own stories and to help this community learn from one another.

Until next time, be well and be seen.


Dean’s List


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Written by Dean Carter

Chief Purpose & People Officer