How to Structure Your Board

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Learning from ImpactWomen

During one of our Make a Wave Growth Readiness Live Sessions, the participants heard insights and tips by Suzanne Biegel, business angel and investment director, one of the most remarkable networkers and insight generators in the social finance arena, and specifically the gender lens on investment. In this post, we’ll recap her tips and answers to the fellows’ questions.

How to set up an efficient board? 

“Your board can include 4 to 5 people, 7 at most. You need to bring in at least:

  • A board member with strong financial expertise, someone able to look at contracts and even bringing them in.
  • Someone who holds the human side under scrutiny, who can deal with human resources issues, labour, and have some good guidance and resources for staff personal development.
  • Someone to bring strategic partnerships and relationships to develop sales, and other opportunities.
  • Someone who knows best in marketing and branding.

On top of this….

  • You  need to weigh the pros and cons of bringing a well known name vs. someone who brings intrinsic value to your board. 
  • Look at your industry and bring in someone who is an expert in it!
  • Essentially, these people should bring in new relationships, they should make time for you and be in position to meet up every two months at least.

…. And how can I recruit a chair?

The Chair, however, has to be a closer relationship. She/he should be in contact with the CEO every week, and i would even suggest up to 2 hours a week. This person will facilitate, steer, the rest of the board.

Remember the board will be thinking on your behalf!

The Chair needs to be able to deal with challenges, help you fundraise, accompany you to strategic meetings.
But remember that a strong board overall is what matters most!

Potential investors want to be assured that your company is backed up and has solid foundations.


Suzanne Biegel is founder of Catalyst At Large Ltd and has more than 25 years’ of experience as an entrepreneur, investor, board member, and hands-on operational manager.

She is the founder and Chief Catalyst of a pilot initiative about investing with a gender lens called Women Effect which is now part of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative at Wharton Business School, and is there now as Senior Gender Lens Investing Adviser. She is the lead angel and founder of the Clearly Social Angels network in the UK for ClearlySo.  She is Investment Director for the SPRING accelerator. She is the founder of Women in Social Finance, a closed group of mostly senior level women working in the field of social impact finance in the UK.

Suzanne served until recently on the board of directors of Confluence Philanthropy. She is a Catto Fellow at the Aspen Institute. She is also on the global advisory board of Cornerstone Capital Management. Read more


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