Presenting "Mastering Your Journey to Board Mandates"
Interview with Gabriela Nguyen-Groza presenting the new ILA Starting Pack for aspiring Independent Non-Executive Directors.

ILA launched Mastering Your Journey to Board Mandates, a Starting Pack for aspiring Independent Non-Executive Directors. Mastering Your Journey to Board Mandates comprises of a 11-hour training, the ILA 2024 Mentoring Programme and a photoshoot with a professional photographer.
Gabriela Nguyen-Groza, creator of this training, presents the bundle and explains why it is a crucial starting point for all aspiring iNEDs.


Could you please introduce yourself and tell us why you have decided to create this programme?

I am the managing partner of Amrop Luxembourg, an Executive Search and Leadership Advisory Global partnership with 68 offices in 55 countries. We work extensively at the international level, not only in Luxembourg but across Europe, as trusted advisors for Boards and Executive Committees on independent directors recruitment, board assessment and board effectiveness, succession planning, diversity of thought and ESG from a leadership perspective.

Why have I created such a programme for Non-Executive Directors? Simply because while talking to independent directors on the market, I realised that they do not know how to find mandates. This is the main problem for iNEDs not only at the beginning of their career, but also in general.  “Old Boys’ Network” is becoming less and less an option in finding mandates, as companies are working with recruiters like us to find the right person for their boards. 

Based on our expertise working with clients and board candidates, I work with participants find their unique value proposition as independent directors, make their iNED bio, brand and promote themselves on the market, network efficiently, test their pitches and prepare for the recruitment process. 

When you are becoming an independent director, you are becoming “your own product”. You need to identify the value you could bring to a board but also understand for which boards you are fit for purpose.  Also, you need to learn how to brand yourself, how to self-promote and how to network efficiently on the market. And all these learnings will take you to find not any mandates but the right mandates for yourself. 

The approach is very pragmatic: a small group of seven participants, working individually on their bio and pitch, but also as a group during a recruitment interview simulation.  The participants benefit from the examples from my experience working with boards, but also from the testimonials of a very experienced independent director, as well as from a former participant in the training, who are coming to talk about the iNED life and will answer questions. 

At the end of the day, participants leave this training with a strategy on how to find mandates. They will have their unique value proposition, they already have thought about the companies where they should start knocking on doors, they are equipped with their pitch and their bio, and are prepared for the interviews. They will also have a modus operandi on how to strategically look for mandates in terms of geographical region, sectors, and type of companies. They will know their value and where to start to positions themselves on the market.

This is very interesting. This programme is part of a package for iNEDs? 

Yes, together with ILA, we thought of creating a sort of toolkit for independent directors, which will help them start or dynamize their career. In a logical order, we are starting with the training “Mastering Your Journey to Board Mandates”. The second item of the package is the ILA Mentoring Programme, which is also essential as it will put them in contact with experienced independent directors in Luxembourg, who will share their expertise with them. Of course, the goal of the mentoring programme is not about mentors finding mandates for mentees but sharing expertise and experiences and helping them understanding certain challenges.  

The third item in the package is a photo session with a professional photographer on ILA’s premises. These photos, as well as the bio that they have created during the training can be use on their individual page on the ILA’s internet site. 

What we have tried to create is a complete “starting kit” which is vital when you start your career as an independent director, or when you try to dynamize it. No one can do the work for the participants and it is up to them to look for mandates,  but thanks to the several items in the package, they will have everything they need to succeed.

Anything else that you would like to share that we have not touched upon?

As a trusted advisor for Boards in Luxembourg and abroad, I make it a point of honour to contribute in making the market more dynamic and helping Boards and iNEDs succeed. We all need to work together to elevate the corporate governance environment and I am glad that I have this opportunity to conduct this programme in collaboration with ILA.

Gabriela Nguyen-Groza
Amrop Luxembourg


Key Governance Developments - January 2024