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Ep 14: How to build your "Personal Board of Directors or Advisors"- Tips & Ideas, Movie based Game

Updated: Jul 18, 2023




EPISODE SUMMARY


Hello, This is Sirisha, welcome to my podcast! Guest Host Usha Nadiveedhi and I talk about building a Personal Board of Directors or Advisors to guide us through the winding road of life. When you think of a Personal Board who do you want on it, what diversity should be built into the board and which areas of life should they cover? We had a blast recording this episode as we wrapped up with a fun quiz.


Let us know what type of board you would build and who you would pick. Each podcast has a few takeaways and resources at the end. Check them out and leave me your feedback!!


Come, let's #paintlifetogether!


Follow me on Instagram @womencareerandlife, and don't forget to listen & subscribe to the podcast here!



Below is a transcript of the episode, slightly modified for reading.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPT OVERVIEW


[01:02]- What is a Personal Board of Advisors or Directors [Jump to section]

[04:49] - Which areas need a Board... [Jump to section]

[05:38] - Career: Board of Advisors [Jump to section]

[07:06] - Finance: Board of Advisors [Jump to section]

[08:24] - Personal Life: Board of Advisors [Jump to section]

[10:08] - Health: Board of Advisors .. [Jump to section]

[12:22] -Micro lifestyle: Board of Advisors [Jump to section]

[12:39] -Fun Quiz...Build your Board from movie characters [Jump to section]

[19:34] - Food for thought. Episode takeaways [Jump to section]


PODCAST DETAILED TRANSCRIPT


What is a Personal Board of Advisors or Directors.. [01:02]


Sirisha: I am excited about today's topic. We're going to talk about building a personal board of directors or advisors to support you through life and career. I'm feeling like a CEO now.


Usha: So true. We're all CEOs of our own lives and like any CEO, we need multiple perspectives as we go down this long winding road of life.


When you think of it, all of us naturally gravitate towards friends and family for advice, which is great, but I think it also helps to look for blind spots and gaps in our circle and broaden that group a little bit. For example, we all need coaches. We need connectors. We need advocates. And sometimes even critics disagree with us and help keep us grounded.


Come to think of it, even somebody like Daniel Craig as James Bond needed Judi Dench, Madam M, and a cool support team, which would provide gadgets. I would love to have some of those gadgets. So in today's episode, we'll talk about why it can be beneficial to build your board of advisors with mentors and experts from different walks of life and for fun Siri and I are also going to build our board with favourite popular characters from movies in history. Let's get started. So Siri, why don't you get us started with some thoughts on who we should have on our board?


"All of us naturally gravitate towards friends and family for advice, which is great, but I think it also helps to look for blind spots and gaps in our circle and broaden that group a little bit."

"We all need coaches. We need connectors. We need advocates and sometimes even critics to disagree with us and help keep us grounded. "


"It can be beneficial to build your personal board of advisors with mentors and experts from different walks of life. "

Sirisha: We’ve had a lot of discussions ourselves and it should consist of four or five key people who are not emotionally invested in you, but instead believe in your abilities.


Something that you may not even have thought about., these are people who will give advice, when you're facing key decisions. When you're looking to build that board, some key things to keep in mind, you want to look for diversity, diversity in background, education, geography, field sector, even age, all of it. You want a rounded personality in your board and treat your board also as a very dynamic entity.


It's not static, there may be people who may be there for the long run, and there may be people who come in and out of it as a need may arise. When you're considering adding these people, think of it also as a way, to look at an aspirational path. Where are you going? So make sure you have if possible people from organizations or in that path that you're aspiring to. As you pick mentors and maybe non-mentors or peers, this is a story that comes to mind, I was recently at an event where there was a senior leader who recently met with a marketing graduate. She carved out time for many months to meet with her, so she could learn about how social media is influencing people and how to work within that system. To me, that is a personal board of, advisors or directors. It might've been a short gig, but it helped her set her up for her future and just learn and expand her horizons.


"You want to look for diversity, diversity in background, education, geography, field sector, even age. You want a rounded personality in your board, treat your board also as a very dynamic entity."

Usha: Social media and artificial intelligence. These are all such new topics, it makes so much sense to reach out to those new graduates. So let me summarize it a little bit. We all need experts who will be able to get us out of career or life crises. When things are not going well and then when things are going well, we also need the same set of individuals to push us from just being good to something great. And some mentors will be there for a short time to help with a specific need, and some of them are going to be with us for our entire life. They'll have your back, support you and critique you, and we all need those advisers who will disagree with us and keep us in check as we go. And think of it, as you keep building your board, you'll end up being on other boards as well, because people are going to reach out to you to do that and it's such a wonderful learning process as you go through this experience.


"When things are not going well and then when things are going well, we also need the same set of individuals to push us from just being good to something great. "

"As you keep building your own board, you'll end up being on other boards as well, because people are going to reach out to you to do that and it's such a wonderful learning process as you go through this experience."

Which areas need a Board.. [04:49]


Sirisha: Usha, if you can create a sample board for yourself, what does its makeup look like?


Usha: Great question. I would have five broad areas, personal life. Career. Health, Finance and a Micro lifestyle. Now, if you're wondering what a micro lifestyle expert is, it's just a different and focused way of looking at your hobbies or free time. For example, you want to build a life of social service instead of just doing it once in a while, you actually want to be a big part of your life, that would be a micro lifestyle, or you want to start a side hustle, but you don't really want to change your work, or you just want something on the side, that would be a micro lifestyle.


"I would have five broad areas, personal life. Career. Health, Finance and a Micro lifestyle. "

Sirisha: I think we should talk about how that would be a good fit in these areas.


Career: Board of Advisors [05:38]


Usha: So let's start with the first career and think through who would be a good fit in the career, and career has so much scope that it could honestly have its own Board of advisors. There are four types of professionals I would reach out to one would be a skills-related expert, somebody with the technical skills in your field, the second one would be a business domain expert and then the third one probably a really important one is somebody who's an amazing leader because you eventually want to build your own leadership skills, and then finally, there would also have a professional or a connector outside your immediate group or your company or your immediate sphere of influence to build your expertise.



"There are four types of professionals I would reach out to one would be a skills related expert, somebody with the technical skills in your field, the second one would be a business domain expert and then the third one probably really important one is somebody who's an amazing leader because you eventually want to build your own leadership skills.."

" ..and then finally just to round it off, there would also have a professional or a connector outside your immediate group or your company or your immediate sphere of influence to build your expertise."

Sirisha: Career has so many twists and turns to it. There’s the aspirational part that you need to be building that board of advisors, but also you need a board of advisors for your day in and day out, a sounding board outside your group or your company that you are able to reach out to.


So I see that as a good fit, and definitely having paid experts or coaches when you need, that is something to think about. When you are looking for these career board of directors, keep in mind that going to networking events in your town, your city, or even online is a good way to start building those connections.


"There’s the aspirational part that you need to be building that board of advisors, but also you need a board of advisors for your day in and day out, sounding board outside your group or your company that you are able to reach out to."

"When you are looking for these career board of directors, keep in mind that going to networking events in your town, your city, or even online is a good way to start building those connections."

Finance: Board of Advisors [07:06]


Usha: Paid advisors are a great idea because networking doesn't always solve all problems and another area that I can think of when networking will not solve all problems is finance. So why don't you talk a little bit about how we would set up the finance area?


Sirisha: Finance is a very touchy subject. We really need a paid financial advisor in some cases. So think about it like this, you can read all the books, you can get all the information you want and you can invest time and do it. Nobody's doubting that we are smart and we cannot do it, but it's really a question of ROI at that point. What are you going to put into it? Are you going to get the return on investment and is that delta as it compounds, is it significant enough for you to spend the time investing with a financial advisor?


"What are you going to put into it? Are you going to get the return on investment and is that delta as it compounds, is it significant enough for you to spend the time in investing with a financial advisor? "

Usha: I've read that when you pick a financial advisor, you want to pick somebody who doesn't have a conflict of interest with representing an organization where you might be investing money or something like that. So you want to pick somebody who is independent, who will give you that advice. So we're going to have a season on finances itself coming up later. So we'll talk in detail about that, but I agree. it's a great area to actually have a paid advisor.


"When you pick a financial advisor, you want to pick somebody who doesn't have a conflict of interest with representing an organization where you might be investing money. "

Personal Life: Board of Advisors [08:24]


Sirisha: So we spent time talking about career and finance, but what about our personal lives? This can be a fairly emotional area to have a personal board of advisors because this is talking about family and friends and those people who have known you for a long time. It could be your aunt. you've spent some vacations hanging out in the back. Sometimes it is my friend with who I spent playing hide and seek or tag and was it Mr. Paul, who helped teach you how to barbecue and flip the burgers and get the temperature perfect during the summer barbecue, as you go into high school. It could be Ms Wright, the teacher and mentor who make-up helped you and advise you, but everyone really feared or the high school coach who pushed you and challenged you to do more.


The point is there are people who are seen as grown up and they'll understand the big picture.


"The point is there are people who are seen as grew up and they'll understand the big picture. "

Usha: People who have seen us grow up are, so perfect when it comes to understanding the big picture and I think we also need folks who have been closer to us in our adult life.


For example, relationships you built on your first job or college, or even that family or couple that you hung out with a lot and stayed up late when your kids were growing up. One other thing I think is very relevant here is something you mentioned earlier Siri, it's about having and reaching out to individuals in different age groups.


That makes so much sense here because they bring out the contrasts in life. So speaking to somebody who's a little older than you gives you a feel of what to hope for in life or what's coming and then speaking to the younger ones gives you a feeling of accomplishment or almost, I want to say, reminds you how far you've come in life.


"So speaking to somebody who's a little older than you gives you a feel of what to hope for in life or what's coming and then speaking to the younger ones gives you a feeling of accomplishment or almost, I want to say, reminds you how far you've come in life."

Health: Board of Advisors [10:08]


Sirisha: We're just talking about talking to younger people, it reminds me of my younger self and health is such a key part of our lives. When I think about it, what comes to mind is this nutrition program, I tried. I really enjoyed it because there was a group like a board of advisors that taught me how to eat better, how to exercise and what really fit my lifestyle and keep me in check and it's been very successful. It's something that I've tried for many years and every time I feel like I need a check-in, I go back and recheck in with those folks to keep that momentum going. I also tried the running club a few years ago and that's really what I needed at that point. So the board of advisors was all the coaches. The people who are professional runners who knew how to do it, how do you start essentially from a couch potato to 5k to a half marathon and get your fitness level built right, so that you can be successful at it? It's such an amazing social experience as well. One of these running clubs, if you ever tried joining one of those organizations, it helped me compete and do well but I also realized it really wasn't my cup of tea. So the board of advisors is to make sure you’re, whichever way you're looking at it to get to where you want to go, to do it well, and to also enjoy yourself along the journey.


Usha: That's so funny., you say that because I go to the gym sometimes and I don't know if I'm doing it right or not and I think I took a while to get here, but I finally found a virtual trainer. She keeps me accountable and I discuss my individual plans. I need that personal attention and I love it. Sometimes having an expert, especially in areas like fitness, when you're starting something new just makes it so much more effective than browsing. The internet is great, but talking to a person just gets you faster to your goal.


"Some times having an expert, especially in area like fitness, when you're starting something new just makes it so much more effective than browsing. Internet is great, but talking to a person just gets you faster to your goal."

Sirisha: Your needs are changing, your goals are changing, making sure you have the right board is very critical. It might change just like we talked, people might come in and people might go out and you might realize that activity is not a good fit anymore. You want to try something new, so something to keep in mind, as you build this health board of advisors.


"Your needs are changing, your goals are changing, making sure you have the right board is very critical."

Micro lifestyle Board of Advisors or Directors.. [12:22]


Usha: And the last one, it was a micro lifestyle and it is really no different from any of the other areas we have looked at. You can hire an expert or reach out to an expert joining us.


Sirisha: Or find even a friend who has that experience, who could help you build into that board.


Fun Quiz...Build your Board from movie characters [12:39]


Usha: That was a lot of heavy stuff, Siri. Why don't we move on to our fun quiz? I'm going to ask you to pick your board of advisors from a list of movie characters.


Sirisha: Sure, but I want to hear what you would pick as well.


Usha: Yes, but you go first, so you're ready to start.


Sirisha: Yes. Go ahead.


Usha: Professor Dumbledore from Harry Porter or Mr Miyagi from Karate Kid?


Sirisha: Prof. Dumbledore, I mean his wisdom. Hey, I could always do with some magic in my life.


Usha: So no, wax on wax off like Mr.Miyagi.


Sirisha: No, I think it would be too tough. We are recording early morning and I don't think I'm up for something so harsh.

Usha: He's good though, I like his style, it’s just an interesting style. I would pick Mr. Miyagi by the way. It's just fun and he might teach me how to eat with chopsticks as well.


The next one is two women Kiran Mazumdar versus Kiran Bedi.


Sirisha: I'm going to pick Kiran Bedi. She was so inspiring as a child to watch her and she's so driven and hey, she held her ground and she was a tough cop.


Usha: I mean, it's, Prof. Dumbledore and then you went to Kiran Bedi on the next one. I think, I won't go pick that, because it'll be too tough. I'll go for Kiran Mazumdar with her business expertise and her entrepreneurship, I think she would be great. We haven't agreed on the first two.


Let's see what the next one has, but Mufasa from Lion King or Mushu the Dragon from Mulan.


Sirisha: I'm going to think Mushu. I like his sense of humour and to make things a little bit of contrast, that’s why I would pick him.


Usha: Okay, next one.


Sirisha: Hey, hold on, you haven’t picked. Who are you going to pick?


Usha: I was thinking, I would pass that one. I've seen Mulan. I don't remember too much about Mushu to be honest. I would go with Mufasa, I just love the wisdom and I think I also just love the songs in Lion King. There's something about that movie. I would definitely go with Mufasa and the fatherly wisdom that he had.


Okay, so now the next one, may the force be with you Yoda versus Obiwan


Sirisha: Obiwan I almost was tempted to say Yoda, but then I keep thinking my board is going to have a lot of wise people on it, but I need somebody who's got energy and who's to rebel and provide a contrast as well and go back and forth and have a lot of grace.


So I'm going with Obiwan.


Usha: One, we finally agreed on something I would go with Obiwan. Next one is from Disney again, Mulan versus Merida from Brave.


Sirisha: Now, this is a hard one because both of them have veered off from the expectations and set their own course. But I think I'm going to go with Merida from Brave she's young, she's feisty, she’s fighting her mom's expectations and trying to align with her dad's expectations, but she's really carving her own path.


Usha: I like her a lot too, just the movie itself was so much fun. In fact, we actually watched it just last week. I would go with her too.


More girls, Hermione from Harry Potter or Nala from Lion King.


Sirisha: I love Hermione. She's smart. she's sharp, she’s willing to stay apart, but she would like to be part of the fold and she challenges. What's not there to love about that?


Usha: And she is so smart. This was a hard one when I think of it, but I probably will go with Nala. I like how Nala does not have any fear and says what she thinks, and she's not wise, but she's able to give you the right advice at the right time and help you change. Of course, at least her role in Lion King was very important. So I'll go with Nala and Hey, more women coming up.


So Madam M from James Bond or Dorothy Vaughan from Hidden Figures.


Sirisha: This is a hard one. I'm going to say Dorothy Vaughan because she was a leader. It's not just that she fought to fit in because there was discrimination, but she also took on more. I really liked that scene when she's trying to figure out that IBM machine and how to get it to work in Hidden Figures and those guys have tried it and it doesn't work and she gets it working. Then she goes and fights for all the women who report to her so that they can continue to grow and when I look at leadership it's about growing the people. She's a perfect example of enabling that.


Usha: Good. I'm going to go with Madam M, I want the gadgets.


Sirisha: Yes. Yes. True.


Usha: And our last one is, Bend it like Beckham girl or the Dangal wrestler girl.


Sirisha: Hmm. I think Bend it like Beckham.

I mean sports, this is a good one, sports and women.


Usha: I actually liked both of them a lot. This is a hard one for me. I'm not into sports at all, so I probably need the Dangal girl to help me, get started on some weight training and help me build some muscle. I love both of them. That was fun Siri. I mean, we could do a long list. I just noticed we had a lot of women on the list. I don't know if that happened intentionally.


Sirisha: This one was fun putting together. When we started the list initially, we had a lot of men, so it was a conscious thought for us to have women on the list as well. Because when you start looking at figures, you have to kind of look through movies and things to find those women. It wasn't such an easy find. I realized when I think about it, I wanted to touch on one where you talk about Kiran Mazumdar and Kiran Bedi. I picked Kiran Bedi for her toughness and skills. You brought up a good point, if I was looking at business and looking at it from that viewpoint, I probably should have gotten Kiran Mazumdar though, because I don't have someone with that skillset. So even after I've picked my board, it's good to go back and revisit and see where I think I'm going in my journey. I want that expertise, so I might change it in the future.


Usha: Good point if only this could be a reality, movie characters are made out of real-life characters. We'll all find personalities who remind us of these characters and more as we go on, but that was a fun exercise.


I hope you guys liked it and we would love to hear who your board would be or which movie character would be on your board.


Sirisha: So Usha, before we wrap up, do you have a Board of advisors for all the different areas?


Usha: I don't have it in a formal way. I do have people I go to for various things, but I haven't really thought through where are the gaps.


Like we started at the beginning, where are the gaps when you talk to Kiran Mazumdar and the business expertise? Now I think of it, there are some gaps like that, and those are the gaps, I think I'm going to go back and see who I can actually reach out to and fill them so I can actually reach my goals in the next few years.


I think I could improve on it by thinking through what I want.


Sirisha: I have a board of advisors when I think about it, but I haven't really thought about it. if it's holistic and it has all the skill sets that I would need and we talked about it really being an aspirational thing.


So making sure it's not just what you need now, but what you need in the future. so you set yourself up for being successful at it, be it health, life or career.


Usha: Well, there you go. I guess we all have different needs.


Food for Thought. Episode takeaways [19:34]


Sirisha: This was a fun episode to record. So let's wrap up this episode, Usha with the food for thought.


Usha: One mentor is not enough, we're going to need several advisors in all the areas we want to grow. They could be family, friends, colleagues, coaches, or professionals. Either way, Go ahead and try to build the board and we would love to hear who is on your board and why you chose them. That's all we have time for today. We hope you enjoyed this episode, as much as we did today.



Guest Host: Usha

Host: Sirisha

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