Magazine article New Zealand Management

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE : Springboard to Success for Young Directors; A Year Ago, High Flyers Simon Telfer and Vicky Taylor Started a Conversation across the Aisle on a Qantas Flight from Wellington to Auckland. It Was the Unlikely Springboard to a Network That Now Includes More Than 300 Other Aspiring and Practising Young Directors. Reg Birchfield Explains

Magazine article New Zealand Management

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE : Springboard to Success for Young Directors; A Year Ago, High Flyers Simon Telfer and Vicky Taylor Started a Conversation across the Aisle on a Qantas Flight from Wellington to Auckland. It Was the Unlikely Springboard to a Network That Now Includes More Than 300 Other Aspiring and Practising Young Directors. Reg Birchfield Explains

Article excerpt

Byline: Reg Birchfield

Simon Telfer has spent the past 14 years founding, directing and managing services companies. He has lived and worked in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand. He is a qualified, independent director with a passionate focus on privately owned, small and medium sized enterprises.

Vicky Taylor, on the other hand, has an impressive and extensive senior management career in New Zealand's fast moving consumer goods marketplace. She is currently general manager for privately owned foods company Smartfoods. She is also a director with Vehicle Testing Group, Structure Ventures and Landcare Research.

What did they have in common that prompted them to take their spur-of-the-moment conversation further? A passionate interest in creating a forum for young directors, which resulted in the launch of SpringBoard a couple of months later.

SpringBoard is, as Telfer tells it, a[euro]a New Zealand-based organisation that grew from a younger generationa[euro]s desire to become better directors and trusteesa[euro].

Now their web-based network boasts 300 members, all under 45 years of age and with some previous governance experience.

a[euro]The group develops membersa[euro] governance skills and knowledge, provides a forum for sharing ideas and experiences and promotes younger directors and trustees for appointment to other governance positions,a[euro] says the enthusiastic Taylor.

SpringBoard uses Linked In, a business-oriented social networking site, as a platform for engaging in debate, sharing governance-related news and articles and for communicating events. a[euro]We supplement this with bi-monthly gatherings where expert speakers present on governance-related topics and members get to network over drinks. Membership is free and we are supported by sponsors,a[euro] she adds.

During their mid-air conversation Taylor and Telfer discussedA their experiences on various boards and trusts. a[euro]We agreed it was a shame there was a no forum for younger directors to do this regularly and decided to do something about it,a[euro] says Taylor.

a[euro]There is also the secondary, but higher profile issue of bringing younger blood on larger New Zealand corporate boards,a[euro] concedes Telfer. a[euro]Our solution is to provide access to a credible alternative pool of talent. …

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