Managing Boards

CEO profiles

Emma Lowndes: Find Care Now

Matches care provider capacity with the elders (and their family carers) that need it.

+44 7802 425373

Jamie Palmer: Social Supermarket

The UK’s most comprehensive marketplace for social enterprise products in the UK. 800 food, drink, accessories and gifts all with a unique social impact. 4616a242/

+44 7827732853

Learning goals:

• How boards can support an early start-up?

• How to choose board member?

• Strategies for successful board meetings


4 weeks out

- Co-hosts read class briefing and had a zoom call to pool resources and agree roles

- Met with SLP class coach and last year’s class lead.

Firmed up the agenda

-Intros (5mins)

- Reminder of the class ‘brief’ (5 mins)

- Previous class lead shares learning (what went well, what would make the class more useful) (20mins)

- Q&A / Clarification (10 mins)

- End (total 40mins)

- Received feedback that the founder exercise didn’t work so well last year

- Co-hosts asked our study groups what they would like to hear about on the topic

- Started putting feelers out for diverse guest contributors with experience of building and scaling a start-up with their own board and potentially experience of other boards.

3 weeks out

- Founders questions collected from study groups before the class, which were:

· What are the different types of boards, when is it compulsory for each?

· What are Companies House obligations?

· How many and what role for board members is needed for each stage of start-up growth?

· How often meet pre-seed, what governance should be in place?

· For a start-up which has raised investor funding, what is the number and type of board members needed so that board decisions go in the founder’s favour, if decided by voting?

· How to make and manage an advisory board. What expertise to look for? What is best pay structure for advisory board members? What are best practises for agreeing and reviewing their KPIs

· What about NEDs, are they part of a board?

· Remuneration / equity for board members?

· How do you find the right board member?

· How to remove or add board members?

· How to handle conflict between board members?

· Information flow between board member, quantity and frequency?

· What are best practises for defining the CEO/founders KPIs/ OKRs reviewed by the board periodically. Company milestones? Anything else?

· What do board members appreciate in CEOs?

· What questions should the CEO be asking?

· Tools used in board meetings (minutes and decisions)?

- Zoom meeting with Class lead and co-host

- Agreed the outcome we want from the class (i.e., what ‘good' looks like for the founders)

- Draft a class agenda for the evening

- Desired outcome and agenda confirmed potential guest invites

- Start recruiting guests

- Agreed the tasks to be completed ahead of the class (when, and by whom)

- inputs needed,

- founder pre-work/poll/questions in advance,

- founder background deck sent to invited guests

- pre-read deck inc guest bios (to save time on baggy intros?)

- roles in the meeting etc

2 weeks out

- Continue recruiting guests

- Individual zooms with each guest to explain SLP, the requirements of the class and discuss ideas to optimise value for the founders e.g., running order, length of story/presentation versus Q&A.

1 week out

- Held 30min pre-zoom with all guests together so they could meet and agree the agenda running order and check they were all comfortable with the format

- Sent agenda and guest biogs out to the class members and confirm no requirement for pre-work

On the night

- Join the call early to check audio etc

- Great idea to two-hand the class, as one founder can be looking at the chat and making sure everything is covered / on time etc.





What I’ve learned, board stories: guest Olu Asikhia


What I’ve learned, board stories: guest Megan Neale





SLP founder board experience and lesson learned


Pulling it all together: People, Purpose, Process: guest Patrick Dunne

Q&A with the panel


Founder wins, book recommendations, screen shot & wrap up

The intention was to harness all the experience in the zoom call (since 7 founders already had a board too) and follow up with founder resources afterwards (see class deck). Related topics such as articles and shareholder agreements had been covered in an earlier class.

Went broadly to time. Always be ready for the class to start late for one reason or another so allow a little longer for the intro.

Post class

- Posted about the class on LinkedIn afterwards to thank the guests and promote SLP and founders

- Sent thank you to guests (e.g. bottle of wine) if OK with them

- Completed class survey and write up within a week while fresh in our minds.

Key Learnings

Start planning early so it’s fairly relaxed and you can schedule guest zooms amongst your ‘business as usual’. Have a class buddy so you have a sounding board, it’s easier with two heads. The class is very forgiving of zoom facilitation so don’t obsess over that bit (but always allow for a 10-minute break). It’s the content they’re most interested in and being able to get the answers to their questions.

Some founder questions will inevitably be best answered 121 since all start-ups and businesses are different. Overall, it was inspiring as the guests had done well without having a clear idea of what a great board looked like at the very start.The class contributed to the ‘demystification’ of the start up landscape. Which is a good thing, entrepreneurship needs to feel and be accessible to more people.

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