What inspired you to become a member of the Virtual Advisory Board community?
I am a natural networker. I love to meet different people from various cultures, professional backgrounds and profiles. Through a common connection at the time, I met Olivier Kunz, and he told me about the VAB community. I was amazed to learn about the organisation’s structure and how it was managed. At the same time, I was also processing in my mind what would or could be the next chapter in my career. Considering my 2 decades of experience in the luxury and art industries, I thought I could add value to an advisory board that might need someone with my profile and background.
In what area do you feel board advisors can add the most value for Boards of Directors (BoDs) and executive teams?
From my experience with the C-suite, I always sense a disconnect with what is happening in the trenches. I firmly believe that adding pragmatic case studies when assessing business situations is very beneficial. The fact that an advisory board is not legally bound to the company is also an advantage. These bodies tend to think long-term vs. short-term. Plus, although not in every company of course, advisory boards can help deliver a sense of urgency in Boards of Directors when there are issues they need to pay closer attention to. I am an avid fan of Simon Sinek. Even if you always need to take a step back and think a little about what he is saying, he still gives you the broader picture. The fact that many companies are currently doing massive lay-offs is a very good example of their poor, long-term visions.
What would be your dream company/organization to work with as a board advisor/NED?
A company where the client comes first! Nowadays I have the impression that many businesses always think of the product first…
I come from a long-term career in the hospitality industry where client service makes or breaks reputations. I have worked in situations with extremely difficult clients and helped them resolve complicated issues. I firmly believe such experience would benefit any company in the world.
What book would you recommend to VAB members that might improve their skills in corporate
governance, board advisory or boosting board-to-executive team communications?
As said earlier, I am an advocate of Simon Sinek. So I pick Leaders Eat Last.
Follow Stéphane von Büren on LinkedIn.