Building your Advisory Board

Who is the first person you would call when you’re faced with a certain decision or dilemma? As you start school, there will be times when you’ll need advice from those who know you best. Now is the time to create your personal Advisory Board – it doesn’t need to be a formal organization; just be clear with yourself about who you want on your board. Seek out trustworthy individuals, with complementary skills, who will provide honest perspectives on your decisions. Note that your board members don’t necessarily need to know they’re part of your board!

The ideal board size typically ranges between 5-7 people. Most importantly, a good Board should include the following skill sets:

  • Sage: A wise person (not necessarily older) with a track record of focusing on the big picture.
  • Number Cruncher: Someone who emphasizes practicality over ideology; can ask questions in order to identify facts that will help you make an optimal decision.
  • Moral Compass: Someone who emphasizes “right vs. wrong” over practicality to help keep you grounded; needs to know you and your values well.
  • Networker: Someone who can open doors for you; finding 2-3 of these people for your board will be particularly helpful when job searching or considering a change.
  • Heavy Hitter: Someone who operates many, many levels above your pay grade, but respects you enough to offer you glimpses of where you could be in the future; if this person can be a Networker for you, serving dual roles, that’s even better.

Leverage them when faced with important decisions! Subscribe to our Advisory Board calendar (via iCal or view our calendar online) to give you quarterly check-in reminders.

Click here for examples of what a Board of Advisors may look like for:

  • An aspiring entrepreneur;
  • An experienced non-profit leader;
  • A young professional/recent graduate.