Transitioning From Executive to Non-Executive Director
Denise Voss, Non-Executive Director | Tracey McDermott, Non-Executive Director
So much changes when taking a non-executive position after a career as an executive. Denise Voss has assembled a varied portfolio of mandates after making this transition following 25 years as a director with Franklin Templeton Investments, and four years as chairwoman of ALFI. She explained how she managed this change in conversation with Tracey McDermott, a fellow independent non-executive director.

“It took me a long time to come to the decision, but I found it very useful to seek advice while assessing the range of non-executive opportunities,” said Ms Voss. She was helped in making the switch by the growing range of enticing non-executive challenges available, the opportunities for financial sector-related voluntary work, and the desire to devote more time and energy to her family. She noted that this is a highly personal decision related to each individual’s career perspectives and personal circumstances.

Taking the step was helped by Ms Voss being offered several interesting non-executive options. As well as now being an independent director and chairing all the client boards she is on, she is also chairwoman of LuxFLAG, a director with the International Climate Finance Accelerator, and chairwoman of the EFAMA Investor Education Platform.

In all, she has made sure to join organisations that value the board’s role, and by extension her contribution. “It is important to have a board environment where all directors feel comfortable contributing, expressing doubts, and debating,” she said. “Relationships need to be built, and I believe in being transparent and open to facilitate this.”

She is thankful that the organisations she has joined are sufficiently large to help her with many of the administrative challenges of becoming a non-executive. This includes the strong support she receives from company secretaries, and the help of an accountant to enable her to focus on her governance tasks.

For those considering a move to become a non-executive, Ms Voss underlined the value of joining associations and working committees to broaden experience and personal networks. She added that it is also important to take courses to fill knowledge gaps, including ILA’s certification options. Each board has a different culture and set of circumstances. Building experience, knowledge, and trust helps to maximise each director’s ability to contribute.

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