Explaining your boardroom credentials
People should be able to explain in 30 seconds why they are a good choice to sit on a board, an independent director told attendees at an event to mark International Women's Day in Bermuda.
Kim Perdikou was speaking to an audience of 50 people, mainly women, at the event organised by KPMG and the Bermuda branch of the Institute of Directors.
Ms Perdikou, a mathematics teacher before sitting on the boards of Silicon Valley companies, told the audience: “You need to look at what the board is looking for – a CFO, CEO or someone with a specific knowledge base.”
She added: “You have to be able to tell your story, one that is relevant to a board, in 30 seconds. The story must be specific to what is important to you.
“It is also really important to have a public persona. Online information does get checked and I think people need to be out there. You need people to understand what you stand for and what your unique skillset is.”
A Scot now living in Bermuda, Ms Perdikou told the audience about her move to California to start her own business.
She said: “I had a computing degree and was teaching. I applied for 50 jobs and did not get a single interview. My husband was very supportive and that gave me the freedom to do what I wanted to do.
“So, I decided to go to California for two years to build a business. I ended up staying for 20 years working in IT.”
Now, Ms Perdikou is a partner at Cloudscale Capital Partners, chairman at iPhotonix LLC and chairman at Rebbl Inc, a company founded to tackle the modern slave trade by helping with projects to create jobs.
She is on the board of directors at CyberArk Software Ltd and was previously employed as an independent director by Lam Research Corp, executive vice-president by Juniper Networks Inc, chief information officer by Women.com Networks Inc, and vice president-global networks by The Reader's Digest Association Ltd.
“It is a serious situation – there are not a lot of women on boards and one of the challenges is that it is often the same women. It starts much earlier than that though,” added Ms Perdikou.
“There is an expectation that women do some things and men do others and what ends up happening is that there are not the same number of men and women in middle and senior management therefore you do not get access to boards.”
Rochelle Simons, chair of the IoD Bermuda branch, said the number of women who are members has risen from 29 in 2013 to 59 in 2018 while the number of men fell from 83 to 77 over the same period.
She said: “There is still a very big imbalance when it comes to the number of women on boards even though they have the same qualifications and skillsets as men.
“Hopefully, the talk by Kim will help inspire women to see what can be achieved when they take action on their own behalf to own their strengths, stay open to learning, network and develop a presence in online portals viewed by director search firms.”