It’s never too soon to create a board of directors. How do you think about composition, compensation and expectations?
It’s never too soon to create a board. How do you think about composition, compensation and expectations?
Co-host Jocelyn Mangan, Founder and CEO of Him For Her, joined Scott to talk about how founders can create an effective board of directors. From early stage through funding rounds, the role of a board can be shaped to be a major asset.
Have feedback? Connect with Scott Case on LinkedIn
Visit foundersfocus.com to join the live video sessions, watch past sessions, and see what topics are up next.
Scott Case 0:00
Welcome to Founders Focus, a podcast made for founders by founders. I'm Scott Case, CEO and co-founder of Upside, and I created Founders Focus to help share free resources and actionable advice. Together, we're building a community for business leaders, entrepreneurs and founders to come together to tackle today's challenges. This podcast is powered by my awesome team at Upside. Please visit foundersfocus.com to join the live video sessions or to catch up on past topics.
Scott Case 0:27
I am thrilled to introduce our co-host for today, Jocelyn Mangan, who is the founder and CEO of Him For Her. And for those of you who love Texas, she is representing the entire state of Texas today, maybe not, she just revealed that she's originally from Texas, if I didn't get that wrong. But Jocelyn, why don't introduce yourself a little bit more, and then we'll dive in.
Jocelyn Mangan 0:51
Yeah, so great to be here. Thank you, Scott. Thank you to all of you for joining today and for this topic. So as Scott mentioned, my name is Jocelyn Mangan. And yes, I was born in the south. I was born in New Orleans. I was raised in Texas, did a three year stint in Mississippi and went to college in Nashville. I spent a long time in technology. So my background is over 25 years in tech, and I started my career early in the internet at a company called city search. If anyone's heard of city search, it was a disrupter to print media long before Yelp existed, and stayed there for nine years as they went through an IPO and became Ticketmaster. So I had a nine year run at that company living all over the world. I then went to OpenTable when it was a startup and stayed there for a decade and really helped grow it through its IPO in its sale to Priceline. I was the Chief Operating Officer at snag a job, a marketplace for hourly workers. And then I'm an active board member so I serve on the Board of ChowNow, which is a series D company that's helping small independent restaurants many of you have probably ordered from ChowNow during the last year, and I sit on a public company board Papa John's Pizza somewhere you may have also ordered from during the last year and on those boards I have some committee roles. So at ChowNow I served as the comp chair, and at Papa John's, I'm on the audit committee. So that's my background. And Him For Her was born in between my last two operational roles. Scott, you want me to go into my Him For Her story now you want to ask a question before I do that?
Scott Case 2:31
I'm gonna ask you a question. So how did you end up at Him For Her?
Jocelyn Mangan 2:35
So where did Him For Her come from? So in between my last two operational roles, I became a Henry Crown fellow out of the Aspen Institute. And if you're not familiar with that fellowship, it's a two year program and it tasks its fellows with starting a venture that they think will change the world. Him For Her was my venture. It's now my company, we're two and a half years old. And it was really born out of my passion for women at work, which is a big category. There's a lot to do, especially after this past year, there's a lot we need to do for women in the workplace.
Jocelyn Mangan 3:10
But I chose to focus on the boardroom, because I knew from my operational experience, it was the most important room in business. I actually was brought into the boardroom at the ripe young age of 28 to pitch an idea that sent me to London and changed my life. So I'd seen it firsthand. I also like many of us looked at the data, I saw it was largely occupied by men, and I knew we needed their partnership if we wanted things to change. And my kind of core competency is product management. So I went and did what most product managers do. I went and interviewed my audience. So I talked to over 90 men about this. And I learned two things that shaped our unique approach at Him For Her, which is one they all wanted to help, they just didn't know how. The second was when I asked him how they found their last board member, I got a personal network story. And so my big aha coming out of that research was, Hey, this is not a pipeline issue that we're looking at, this is a network problem. And if we could just form allyships with those people in the boardroom, we could actually close this network gap.
Jocelyn Mangan 4:14
So that's essentially what we do as an organization is we close the network gap. We do it in four specific ways. So the first is we extend networks. How we do that – we bring together men and women board ready women CEOs, investors and board members for small curated conversations. These are held now almost weekly, they're off the record, and this work, we've done over 80 of these, has built our talent network, which at this point is over 2,600 board ready women, a third of those are women of color, and we facilitated 1,000s of introductions for those women because the second thing we do is that we build curated referrals for board openings. We've helped over 550, we're averaging about 40 a month right now. We've seeded 13 directors just since the year started and we do our work for free, which is really compelling in this ecosystem of word of mouth personal network, as we've really tried to build a business model that matches the ecosystem that we're aiming to be a part of.
Jocelyn Mangan 5:13
We do two other things which I'll mention quickly, we do education. That's not just for board ready women, that's also for CEOs, ambassadors and board members who are looking to build their boards of strategic assets. And then finally, we do a lot of benchmarking, especially in the private company space. There's a lot of data out there about public companies, because it's public information. There's not a lot about private companies, we've done two annual studies of the most highly funded venture backed company boards, so think of them as our high growth boards, at the heart of our innovation, 50% of those boards are still all men. And we might even say, Well, yes, that's an investor thing, it is, however, we looked at the independent seat, and still only one in five independents is a woman. So we still have a lot of room to grow. And as someone who spends her days on the phone with amazing women, it's available to us this problem, this opportunity is highly available to us. So that's how it was born. That's what it is.
Jocelyn Mangan 6:17
I'm a late in life entrepreneur. So I love being invited to this conversation. Because I've been labeled what's called an intrapreneur, I've really shown entrepreneurial skills, but they've been inside of other big companies, or small companies as they've become bigger. And it's really thrilling, exciting and terrifying to be running your own company at this stage of my career.
Scott Case 6:43
So let's unpack that. We've got some questions that we're gonna dig into - Him For Her and boards and things. But let's just stay on your journey for a moment. You know, you went to this fellowship, the goal was to create a venture. Did you apply to that? Was it something you wanted to do? Did you get nominated? Like, how much of it was intentional? How much of it was, oh, boy, I've just been asked to step up?
Jocelyn Mangan 7:09
Yeah, it was like a lightning bolt. I had never heard of the program. I was nominated. So you're nominated for the program. The woman who nominated me took me to lunch, I'd never heard of it, I didn't really know what it was. And then the more I heard her talking, I think the more she saw my face light up. And so really, I described it as a lightning bolt, because it kind of hit me at a point in my life where I had the space to maybe think about something like this. Again, walked into a room of my classmates highly intimidated, many of them had a long track record of being entrepreneurs, some walked in with ideas of their venture. I walked in really deer in headlights with no idea what my venture would be, no idea what the program would be. And there you have it. Two years later, it really unfolded. I will say there are some tailwinds in the ecosystem that helped this. I chose boards, I thought about lots of other areas I could focus on and wow, are we really focused on boards in the ecosystem. So there's been a lot of inertia behind this idea that has helped. But I also think we came up with a really needed and unique approach to the opportunity.
Scott Case 8:21
Yeah, I don't know where you were in your cycle when I participated in one of your dinners in DC. With COVID, it seems like a lifetime ago, but it might have only been like two years ago.
Jocelyn Mangan 8:34
You were at one of our first, like within the first year. I mean, you were probably one of the first 10 dinners and we've done over 80 at this point.
Scott Case 8:43
Well, first off, I was honored to be a participant, but I also felt like the format of kind of a low pressure, let's just get to know each other opportunity was really, really important. Because to your point about your core insight, these are relationships that drive a lot of the decisions that we make, especially early as entrepreneurs, you know, we're looking to hire and engage people that we know and trust, because we got to de-risk the business. And so if we don't know and trust enough women executives that are ready to make that leap, by definition, they're going to fall out of the short list in that early going. So it was a powerful experience. And I've stayed engaged with a few of the people that I met there along the way, so that's been really valuable.
Jocelyn Mangan 9:37
Just to build on that really quickly. That format was inspired by Aspen, and the format that they use for this two year program is to bring this group together in a room off the record to form these relationships that end up lasting, quite frankly a lifetime. And so obviously, this is not as in depth as that but it's exactly what you said, Scott, people tend to pick people they know for their boards because they want trust and candor. So no one's coming at this from a bad place. Who doesn't want trust and candor on their board? The challenge is that if you pick people you know, it's actually riskier, because you could suffer from groupthink. You could fail to see around the corner for your business, because you're basically working with people who think a lot like you. Let's be honest, it's actually harder to build trust and candor with a diverse board, but it's better. And that was said so well by Dara who's one of our hosts and supporters, the CEO of Uber, he said, when boards are built with a bunch of people who know one another trust and candor is easier, but it's worse for the business – when they're built with diverse thinkers, building trust and candor, may be that little bit harder, but it's so much better for the business. So what we're trying to do is help that pathway by bringing these people together in these small conversations to at least start some conversations that might end up with relationships and board seats.
Scott Case 11:11
So let's take the board piece apart a little bit. So do you have a board at Him For Her?
Jocelyn Mangan 11:20
Scott Case 11:21
And so how did you go about composing that board? What was the strategy? Why did you form one? I'm sure that some of it had to do a little bit of dogfooding your own product, but how did you form the board? And what were you looking for?
Jocelyn Mangan 11:36
Yeah, so I'll tell you just the honest truth. So when I started the entity, I had to name board members on the entity paperwork, right? I mean, it's required. And so obviously, I'm a board member, but I put two other people on there. One is my next door neighbor, who is also a business mentor. He is someone who is an investor, he's following my career, every transition I've made from Open Table, I've gone next door to sit at his dining room table and say, here's how I'm thinking about it. How do I think about this, and he was the one that said who should host your first dinner, it's Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit. And he's like, and you know, who should be your first corporate sponsor, it's JP Morgan. And that actually was our first dinner, Scott Cook. And that actually was our first corporate sponsor, JP Morgan. And so I put him on the board. The other person I put on the board was my boss of over eight years, but a mentor for many more at OpenTable. And that's a man named Mike Xenakis, who really has been that person I've gone to for business advice, since I was a junior Product Manager. I mean, he was my manager for eight years. But even beyond that, again, he's the person I pick up the phone, here's how I'm thinking about this, here's how I am thinking about that. So in some ways, my first two board members, you could almost call them friends and family. However, they did have that, like, they poke me, they challenged me. So they're not just always in agreement, always celebrating.
Jocelyn Mangan 13:04
But I'd say the first kind of strategic board member, I have three board members at Him For Her. And then we just added one, we have a for profit business we're starting. And that's when I really started to use the skills that we see in the ecosystem, which is what are we missing? In terms of our skill set as the CEO, I have two co-founders, you know, we're all great, I think but obviously, there's things you're missing for what you want to be when you grow up as a company. And what we really needed is we needed someone who understood we're a nonprofit who is also starting a for profit piece of our business. And we needed someone who understood how to fundraise for both types of entities, how to work across both types of entities. And that's when we added Joanna Reese, who's incredible, she's someone I've met through Aspen, she sits on now both boards are nonprofit and our for profit. She has a track record of taking a nonprofit at our stage to a massive, successful nonprofit with a for profit arm endeavor that she worked on with Reid Hoffman. And just as she was stepping off the board at endeavor, it created the space for her to be able to join our board. And she's added so much incredible value to my thinking and one of those qualities of your most valuable board members, they inspire you to think bigger. And you think as a CEO and founder you think really big until you get that board member that's like Haha you're not thinking big enough. And it's very inspiring to have that. I would say Juliana really plays that role well.
Scott Case 14:36
Cool. So let's stay on the topic of composing a board. We often think of boards, as like you talked about you sit on a public company board so there's some governance and oversight that's there. And then a lot of private company boards end up growing kind of organically, often through capital raising. Let's put those two buckets aside for right now. It's day one, you've got to put some names down on a board. In your case, it was a nonprofit. So it's a little bit more structured when you go to apply for the cash, what's the name of that form? There's some kind of form a 1022, or something.
Jocelyn Mangan 15:14
It's a big form. I did the whole thing myself. And it felt like I just took another version of the SAT when I finished it.
Scott Case 15:21
Yeah, it's a thing. One of the questions we got in the chat here was – what are the characteristics that you would look for in a board member? And perhaps it's more about what are the things that you look for when you're first shaping that board? If you're just starting out, a lot of our founders here are in the very earliest stages of forming their companies, they might be a year into it, they might have an MVP – what are the types of things that they ought to be considering when they're thinking about creating a board around them? And why should they create one at all?
Jocelyn Mangan 15:56
Yeah, so great question. One of the things that was played back to me and so much of the advice that I'll give within this discussion came to me from business leaders like Scott Cook, and I think this was a Scott Cook quote, and he was like, pick the board member whose advice you can't get enough of. So in some ways, you can be very tactical about it, which is you can actually be self aware, what are the things you're good at and what are the things you're not good at that you know the company needs to be good at for the next three years? That's a really great way to start that thinking process.
Jocelyn Mangan 16:30
So for example, I am a product manager, I know product design, marketing, engineering, those are my kind of areas, but I don't know fundraising. I didn't, now I do, thankfully. I don't know kind of sales. I have seen scale, I know growth. So what are those things that you uniquely have? And what are you missing? Because chances are, if you are at an early stage, call it venture private equity, the people who are going to join your board are going to be investors, because they're going to get a board seat with every round of investment. There's nothing wrong with investor board members, they can be fabulous and great. But they aren't going to come to the table with a certain background. And you might find some who've been operators, but most often, they're not. And so I actually would encourage you to think about what are the operating skills that you don't have the strength in, but that your company strategy is going to need.
Jocelyn Mangan 17:33
So like if your number one thing is customer acquisition for the next three years, and it's consumers, that would be the kind of genre of person you might want to look for. But then it does come down to how do you relate to that person. And I love this kind of subjective, the person whose advice you can't get enough of. So have some conversations with these people, put them in the scenarios, see how they play out, because the best board members won't come in and solve your problems. They won't operate your business, that's what you're there for. The best board members will come in and act as these like wise guides, they'll ask you those questions that make you think differently. They'll listen intently. They'll have interest in your industry, they'll know who your competitors are, they'll want to read about your competitors on their weekends in their free time. And that's a big, big, big piece. The best board members will spend the time you need them to spend. And one of the quotes that came back from one of our panels was from an amazing board member. And he said, a board is not a four meeting a year entity, it's a little breadcrumb every day. And that I thought was so powerful and true. The best board members are doing something for you every day, it could be answering an email, it could be reading an article, sometimes it will be concentrated eight hours of board meetings. But if you think about a board member as someone who shows up four times a year, I think you're really selling yourself short about who you can find in the ecosystem.
Scott Case 19:04
So talk about why we form a board at all when you're first starting out? You know, you're doing that customer discovery work, you're doing the early customer validation, maybe you're building a VP, why bother having any kind of a board at all at that stage?
Jocelyn Mangan 19:27
I think it's because it is helpful to have outside perspective. That's hard for you to get otherwise. And, especially when you're early stage you're so heads down and so is your team by the way. Everyone's doing five different jobs. You are just in it all day long all the time. And it is very hard for you to look outside of that to even figure out what you should be looking toward asking about. And that board member is that person that you can have those altitude conversations with. So I also do think of it as like kind of a mountain where you're at the bottom of the mountain most of the time and it's hard to get up to that altitude or get out of the building or get out of your head or get out of your team, and it's those moments that really there's those insights that help you be that company of the future. And so the value of bringing that person in early is why wait for that top type of thinking. Why wait to make your company better type thing.
Jocelyn Mangan 20:35
And the other reason is, is as you become successful, because I know everyone on this call will be successful, you will also be successful in getting several rounds of investment, and your board will get bigger and bigger with investors, and the voice of that independent will get smaller and smaller. So remember, diversity is not just gender diversity, it's not just race and ethnicity. Diversity is diversity of thinking. So if you have a five person board and four are investors, that is not as diverse as you could be, and as a busy CEO, you don't wake up thinking about funding rounds every morning. That's not your burning issue. Some months it is. But you need board members who can address those burning issues. Maybe it's you want to open an engineering office in a new city, you're not sure if that's the right answer. Maybe it's that you're missing your CFO, and you need contacts for this. But those independent board members are those people that can help do the things that maybe the investor board members won't be as accessible for. And again, investor board members, also very great, but you want to have an ecosystem of a board that is diverse. And so it's important that you bring in those independents in line with your success bringing in the investors.
Scott Case 21:51
Talk a little bit about the formal versus informal, right? When you're asked to be a formal board member, there's some fiduciary responsibility that comes along with it, there's some oversight governance, etc. Versus, say, an advisory board or a more informal board where you may be still providing either information to them on a regular basis, like you might be quarterly or gaining insights from them. Are there advantages to one over the other when you're early?
Jocelyn Mangan 22:25
Yeah, so I'll talk about as a participant, so not only do I serve on two boards, I'm an advisor for two companies. I find the work to be pretty different and equally engaging. And where it's different is, in my advisory work, I feel like I'm more in the weeds like that's where they're like I'm Jocelyn, the product manager, I'm Jocelyn, the person who can understand the product roadmap and really kind of dissect it. Right before this call, I just got an email from one of my advisory companies to dogfood the product, like that's how, at least in my experience, those CEOs are leveraging my background for advisory, which feels pretty different from my work as a board member.
Jocelyn Mangan 23:05
As a board member, you really are oversight of the CEO of the company, and on behalf of the shareholders. So you are really operating at this altitude role, right? You are really the entity that could hire and fire CEO, it's not how you should always think about the board but it's true. And in the best of cases, you're there to support the CEO and the executive team because it's the right team for the company. But you're really that guide that sits above that entity. So I find the two roles to be different. As a participant, I would say as a CEO, as you're thinking about the two, maybe you don't have to think about them as being so separate. If you believe that you're too early to have a formal board, why not just pick an advisor who could become a board member and have that conversation. It's almost like when you hire someone as a contractor with the intention of bringing them on full time. You can actually treat your advisors the same way assuming those advisors have interest in being on the board and you could have that transparent conversation in the beginning.
Scott Case 24:11
Yeah, I like your point about there is something early in the formation of a company where those advisors are much more as you said in the weeds, more intimately familiar with the business. – there's also a natural transition as you point out from an advisor to a board member but there's also some advisor types that don't want the responsibility of the board or the formality of it. I get asked a lot would you be an advisor and I'm like just call me like I'm happy to help but I don't have the time to step on and be on a board because I know what the lift is to do a good job, and as you said, it really is thinking about it in some form or another every day to do a good job which is you're really taking on a part time role.
Jocelyn Mangan 24:59
You can't predict the time. Like you know, last March, every board member was sucked into a crisis at the same time. So that was a world event. At the same time every board was like dealing with what does this mean for their company. But if you think about a company lifetime, one of the quotes from our conversations is board service last longer than most us marriages. These are typically not short term roles. And if you're thinking about a board member or if you're thinking about being on a board, I like to think of it as a 10 year horizon – is this someone you want to be around for 10 years, and truthfully, you may not be around them for two years, and you can do all sorts of things where you re-up every two years, and all those sorts of things, you might sell the company, blah, blah, blah. But if you go in with that intention, I think it's very powerful, because it sets you up for that kind of long term view on both sides of the fence. Because there's going to be crisis within 10 years in every company that's not pandemic related, and you have to be available for that company when it's in crisis. It's not an option. So Scott, your point really resonates with me, if you get any sense of this person may or may not be available for you during those times, it's not your board member. And kudos to you for knowing like, you're not in that place right now to be able to spend that time with a company. That's one of the most important qualities in the board member is they will make the time, they will find the time, because sometimes it will be a Saturday morning, a Sunday morning, late Monday night, you'll find when boards are in crisis, that's often the time that you're taking the calls, because everybody on the board is busy with other things.
Scott Case 26:45
Yeah, it's a real commitment to do a good job. And, to your point about taking it on as a job, which means the job when the job calls, you've got to respond to it and be able to say, Yep, I'm in and I'm engaged around this.
Scott Case 27:03
I also think as an entrepreneur, choosing board members that as you say, you're going to want to be around for years, and you're going to intersect with them and you want to feel comfortable picking up the phone and having them be one of your first calls when things aren't going particularly well.
Scott Case 27:22
I want to talk a little bit about whether they're formal or informal, I run into a lot of entrepreneurs, I was mentoring one couple of weeks ago. And I said, Oh, what do you got going on today? And this was midday on a Friday and she says, Oh, I'm two weeks late providing an update to my board. And I said like, what's holding you up? And she wasn't looking forward to reporting some bad news. And we talked it through and she got herself organized around it and some of it was just not having a cadence or a rhythm to it. So what's your counsel on how to keep a board informed on the facts on a regular basis so that when you do pick up the phone – what's the best way to do that? Or what are some of the ways that you found to be particularly helpful, both with the boards you sit on and then as you've advised others?
Jocelyn Mangan 28:23
Yeah, I mean, the number one thing here is candid communication, which is so much harder than the sentence I just said. And what I mean by that is when you find yourself in a situation where you're having to like sit on something and figure out how to present it, there's probably a break in how fluid that candid communication is between you and your board. And in the healthiest environments, it's just happening like this, right? It's like good news, bad news is coming, there's no Google presentation about it. I will say the best boards report the bad news right away and they don't wait. And this is nothing against obviously the woman that you talked to. It's super hard to get to this point, which is why it's so important that you not only pick the right people for your board, but then you invest in the relationship with your board. Again, harder than it may seem. But there's many, many ways to do it.
Jocelyn Mangan 29:20
We've had lots of conversations over the last year about what's happened to that communication since we've gone remote. There's pros and cons. I mean, I will say one of the pros is my boards have picked up that phone, texted, slacked more than we ever did before. We found ourselves in these kind of really prioritized buckets of here's the meeting, here's the call and we've broken those barriers down. That's been a good thing. The bad thing is, is there's nothing that replaces in person conversation. The serendipitous conversation at dinner or coffee in the hallway has gone away. But what you really want to do is establish a pattern where the board is in support of the CEO. And the CEO is in the hardest position, right? Because they're both there to report to their board, but they also manage their board, they set the tone. So as many of you are CEOs, you have the responsibility of setting the tone of how you're going to be with your board. And how you want to be with your board is authentic, candid, and you want to put up whatever boundaries you need to do your job. But you also want to give your board access to your team, access to the information about the company in a responsible way, you don't want your board members calling someone on your team and asking for a 60 page report on something that's nonsensical. But at the same time, you don't want to also put up a wall between your board and yourself or your board and your team. So everything I just said is really hard. So I don't want to oversimplify it. But that's the end state that you're going towards.
Scott Case 31:01
And your point, it takes time. You have to build relationships with them. That concept of building trust and understanding. And you also need to look for some different perspectives, because you're also going to get lots of different points of view if you've done your job right creating that board.
Scott Case 31:19
So we're going to go into the speed round in a minute. But I'd love my first question for you in that zone is – Do you have an example of a board? Let's say that one of your members joined the board and their participation solved some problem or created some value just by the fact that they brought a different perspective?
Jocelyn Mangan 31:45
Yeah, I mean, one of our very first placements is this amazing woman. She joined a board, she's the first woman on the board. And two things happened because this is around right when the pandemic happened. She got the appointment maybe a couple of months before. And this is a financial company who had done no work on themselves internally with DEI. And so they basically said, Look, could you take a look at our entire company, and so she actually kicked off something that didn't even exist. What they also didn't know is she's the mother of a biracial child. And when all of the racial injustice became more prominent in our conversations and in our companies, she was a lived experience of so many things at a board level that she was able to help that board unlock some of what needed to happen. And these are really hard things. They're unprecedented. So boards typically have not over the last two decades dealt with racial injustice, dealt with employee mental health, dealt with the environment, dealt with DEI. And they have to now, not a choice. Absolutely imperative. And so by her being on the board, it made their job a little bit easier. It's hard stuff. So it didn't solve it. But it made it a little bit easier to at least know what conversations to kick off.
Scott Case 33:17
That's great. All right, we're gonna go into our lightning round. I'm going to give you the the self interested question first, self interested by me, which is – You talked about being in person and and as a business travel company, I'm asking everybody, so when you think about getting back on airplanes on a regular basis, and like going places and seeing people and maybe having dinners again?
Jocelyn Mangan 33:42
Well, there's two answers. Me as Jocelyn, I'm already doing it. I am vaccinated. I'm taking my children to see my parents for Mother's Day. So I'm already starting. I'm starting to plan some things personally. I have a big birthday this year, so I'm starting to think about some international travel for that later in the year. And my kind of temperature check on the business community is really September, with some people starting this summer. I think there's this feeling of the summer time that people have been so sequestered, the nice thing to do would be to preserve this summer for people to use their travel for their families that they haven't seen. I've also heard some theories of boards not getting together until the employees can get together so not showing some kind of different behavior, which I thought was an interesting perspective. I'm a business extrovert, if you can't tell over Zoom, so I'm ready. But I think the business community from what I can tell is going to be very different globally. But here in the United States, it feels like September, and I'm kind of looking to the New York business environment to lead the way, but it feels like September seems like the time that people are starting to plan things from a business perspective.
Scott Case 34:57
Awesome, very good. Okay. So we're going to go into our lightning round. I'm going to ask you a question. Think of yourself as answering in a tweet or two. And it's unfair and you'll wish you had more time, but such is the game.
Scott Case 35:12
So the first one, what's the realistic expectation of a time commitment for a board member?
Jocelyn Mangan 35:17
A breadcrumb every day. Okay.
Scott Case 35:23
And what's the typical term? If you're going to ask people to sign up for a term, what's the right length of a term?
Jocelyn Mangan 35:30
I like three years with the chance to revisit every three years, seems appropriate.
Scott Case 35:35
Okay. And how do you think about compensation for a board? As a nonprofit, I'm sure there isn't compensation. But how do you think about it in a for profit environment?
Jocelyn Mangan 35:43
So it totally depends on the stage of the company. Early Stage is typically equity only, mid or late stage private company, it's going to be equity with a cash equivalent. Public, it's public, so you can go look it up. But it's an annual fee, plus a committee fee plus stock.
Scott Case 36:04
Okay. As you think about adding a board member, what advice do you have for someone vetting the competency, the network, the relationship of bringing a board member on? You might have conversations, but how do you go and make sure that they are who they say they are and bring what they think they bring to the table
Jocelyn Mangan 36:24
Spend the time you need. This is a big decision. So yes, you can go through backchannels, you can do personality tests, all those different things. But your gut is typically right about people if you truly spend the time and listen to it. So don't be rushed. Take your time.
Scott Case 36:43
Got it. Him For Her, you said your services are free. That's really nice on the receiving end, how do you plan to stay in business with your special free business model?
Jocelyn Mangan 36:55
Yeah, so we actually have a fairly strong earned revenue model. We are a bunch of for profit operators behind this nonprofit. We get revenue in three ways. One is a straight up donations, which we are super grateful for. And we have some notable donors, including Jeff Weiner, Reid Hoffman, Dara from Uber who I mentioned, NASDAQ, so incredibly grateful for their support. We also get money from corporations. We go into large corporations, and we do programs that help demystify the boardroom for their senior women who often are invisible, because these are such large corporations, yet they manage product lines larger than most of the companies that we're managing right now. And the third way is we partner with private equity and venture capital. We're thrilled with the progress there. We've signed over 30 firms in the last 10 months. And we help them with their board referrals, which helps the ecosystem. So that's how we make money. We came through the pandemic, we were an all in person business, we fully transformed, we ended the year with a six month runway, we are now in a really good position financially. But all of that said, we're at this for 10 years. So for me, that's not good enough. So we are looking to figure out how to support our work for decades.
Scott Case 38:17
Awesome. Very good. Well, my last question is – there's a lot of people that would love to help expand the network relationships, how can Founders Focus people help you be successful?
Jocelyn Mangan 38:31
And thank you Founders Focus for asking. There's a few ways. One is any board opportunity that you're aware of whether it's your own, or whether it's a friend or an investment firm, if you know PE VC people, your investors, make sure they know we exist, we are here for them. We will deliver a list of curated referrals in a week or less for free. And if you know board ready women, ready to sit on a board today, that want to be part of our network, refer them also to us, we will onboard them and that will help with their own board visibility and journey. If you know anyone who wants to make donations to our organization, it does help us. It helps our operational capacity and it helps us expand the impact that we're making.
Scott Case 39:18
Awesome. That was fantastic. Thanks, Jocelyn.
Scott Case 39:20
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of Founders Focus. What do you think? You got any feedback for us? Got a topic that you'd like us to discuss or maybe a future co host? We'd love to hear from you. Just hit me up on LinkedIn at T Scott Case. And join us at foundersfocus.com to stay up to date with the latest episodes and join us live every week at our Founders Focus sessions. Hope to see you there.