We have conversations with the wise, long-tenured members of corporate boards about the characteristics they seek in their next director. The wish list can look something like this:
Expertise with challenging revenue recognition rules
Qualified financial expert
Lived and worked internationally
Prior board experience
No single superstar human being or even two eminently qualified ones can possess the multitude of skills and experiences that today’s board members need as they grapple with unprecedented challenges.
Boards need to both transform (i.e., add multiple board members equipped with current skillsets across finance, technology, marketing, HR and operations) and stay the same (i.e., maintain a roster of experienced directors who know the company and have worked through the many challenges of CEO succession, activists, M&A, volatile earnings cycles) while fulfilling their mounting fiduciary responsibilities. Adding one or two new board members is a vital step, but it does not resolve the total problem. A well-constructed and managed advisory board can be the missing link.
Although we have extolled the benefits of advisory boards before, we have an example we want to share with you. Our client is Karat, a venture-backed technology company that blends human plus tech solutions to interview software engineers on behalf of their clients, 24/7, anywhere in the world. Despite already distinguishing itself as a tech innovator, Karat’s leadership team seized the opportunity to supplement its firepower – particularly in product development and go-to-market – by assembling an advisory board stacked with proven technology leaders.
As you will see in the list below, the ten members of Karat’s inaugural technical advisory board are all at the top of their respective games and collectively possess a significantly more diverse array of skills and experience than any single specialist board member could provide.
Karat’s co-founders, CEO Mo Bhende and President Jeff Spector, remain in awe of the proactive support and fresh ideas they have received from each board member at every point of contact, starting with the very first interview.
The reason we share Karat’s news with you today is that we are convinced this caliber of advisory talent is available to companies of all sizes and across every sector. And we believe it is the answer to the long-standing challenge posed by the inevitable tradeoffs between old vs new, specialist vs generalist, wisdom vs currency.
The inaugural leaders of Karat’s Technical Advisory Board
Chief Technology Officer for Platform and Cloud Enablement at Elevance Health, Inc.
Vice President of Vehicle Software at Tesla
President and Chief Technology Officer at Mastercard
Chief Technology Officer at UnitedHealthCare
Former Chief Digital and Technology Officer for GSK and former Chief Information Officer for Walmart Inc.
Former Global CIO at Deloitte
Chief Information Officer and Head of Technology Services for Citizens Financial Group
CIO and VP of Business and Technology Services at Abbott
President and Chief Development Officer at Okta
Chief Security Officer & Head of Engineering for Trust and Safety at Airbnb
Advisory boards make everyone a winner – the CEO, leadership team, board, and shareholders!