The Boardroom Playbook — in Conversation with Julie Roehm

Serving on a board is considered to be a viable adjunct to any successful career. Board positions are seen as a place for C-suite executives, business leaders, and well connected people with time on their hands … aged over 50. However, in the modern world of improved corporate governance, this perception is being challenged. Board positions are now successfully being occupied by working executives, younger professionals, and a growing number of people with diverse backgrounds.

Julie Roehm has served on numerous boards. Her diverse career as a marketer has taken her from the automotive industry, to retail, to technology and consulting. Her wide variety of experiences and valuable insights makes her an extremely valuable asset to any organization.

We are in conversation with Julie today to discuss her approach to corporate boards.

Marketing is to create, communicate, deliver and exchange offers that have value for others. The role of marketing is high-level, and requires crucial representation on companies’ boards. How would you approach representing a company’s marketing efforts on its board?

“I have had the experience of working as an executive for many years, and serving on several boards as well. When on a board, I think it’s important to listen intently, get to know the leadership and ask questions, especially when coming in new. There is so much history and dynamics to be understood. Learning all of that can be illuminating, it can help peel back that figurative onion, and it will actually help you better serve that team and that board. As a board member you must understand the challenges, or identify opportunities that have not yet been outlined, and help them follow through. The goal of a board member is not to do work, it’s not to tell the executive team what to do either. In the most successful situations, board members offer oversight, their thoughts and insights, introduce the organization to their network, and actually go out and experience the brand so they can provide firsthand feedback and informed opportunities. I have always followed the aforementioned methods in my board positions and will continue to do so.

· Pre-existing passion for the cause.
· Eagerness to participate at every meeting.
· Willing to prepare ahead for meetings.
· Anxious to serve on committees.
· Ability and propensity to give above average financially.
· Strong desire for stewardship to others.



I have found that board members who experience the greatest amount of success aare passionate about the cause or company, they are eager to participate in every meeting and come prepared to the meetings. Nothing is worse than an executive team that prepares a thorough presentation that is sent to the board days in advance of the meeting only to get to the meeting to learn that they didn’t even look at the pre-read. Other traits include an interest to continue to learn and to serve on committees and probably most im portantly, is to have a drive and desire to serve. As board members, we are there to serve the company and the executive team, not to run it.

“A great example of that passion, curiosity, and servant leader mentality is one of a woman who currently sits on the board of Party City. She often shops our stores and our online platform and is always willing to share her experience. Inevitably, the experience will either not go perfectly or it will spur on an idea of how it could have been made easier. As a board member, she knows how to share this experience in a way that is detailed, but supportive and complete with questions and suggestions. It is never received as an indictment nor negative.

“That’s the kind of value I believe board members should bring. Help a company to ask probing questions, create challenges in a positive and supportive way, and finally, help brainstorm solutions. And of course, from a marketer’s perspective, I may focus more on certain areas, but the underlying foundation and overall approach to a board should remain the same.”

Thank you for sharing, Julie.

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