Priya Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Board Match-Up

By Radhika  Wijesekara –

SINGAPORE (February 07, 2024) – The traditional norms of working on the boards of organizations are evolving. Owing to a multitude of factors and experiences that the world has faced over the past few decades, even the manner in which leadership functions is taking on a new form and shape. With the increase in overall life expectancy across the globe, along with the enhanced quality of life among people, the need to give up actively engaging in productive work at a predefined age is a thing of the past. In an attempt to balance the need to continue to keep experienced minds active and productive members of society while making space for new members to join the workforce, many senior officials are turning to working on a flexible basis.

Board Match-Up is a unique new platform that connects forward-thinking boards with experienced, accomplished C-suite independent directors to forge meaningful connections and empower both the organisation and the individual.

Working within a flexible executive economy, Board Match-Up reshapes the dynamics of leadership in various organisations and industries, by identifying talent hailing from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and experiences to broaden the quality of the board, helping them better navigate through an ever-changing business landscape.

In a recent conversation with Priya Rao, COO of Board Match-Up, AsiaBizToday delved deeper into the platform, how it works, and how it helps the business climate today. This is what we found:

Q: What exactly do you mean by “independent board members, directors, and CEOs”? How do these positions compare against in-house officers bearing the same positions?

A: The distinction between independent board members and in-house board members lies in their legal responsibilities, authority, governing laws and, most importantly, their expertise. Freelance roles at this level of seniority can provide the industry or functional expertise needed by the organisation, at specific stages of growth. There are numerous executives who bring their expertise to particular domains and market segments. These freelance executives are engaged by the organisation to fulfil specific objectives rather than serve fixed terms; they bring their valuable experience in leading organisations through high-growth phases.

Q: How does Board Match-Up aim to connect potential board members to companies that will ensure mutual benefits for both parties?

A: The executives available on Board Match-Up all possess expertise across various domains, including guiding organisations through high-growth phases, offering technical proficiency, and facilitating market expansion. Referred to as “flex executives,” these individuals possess expertise that they can leverage to advise companies. This arrangement is mutually beneficial, as these executives may be at a career stage where they seek challenging and meaningful work while our clients, many of whom are small to medium-sized organisations, can benefit greatly from their expertise without committing to full-time hires. By bringing diverse experiences and perspectives to the boardroom, organisations can initiate change and enhance performance, gaining a competitive edge in today’s dynamic business landscape.

Q: Why do you feel that the Flex Executive Economy is the future of corporate leadership?

A: Change is a necessary constant, and it must begin at the top. As organisations adopt new methods of operation, boards must evolve their practices accordingly. Traditional board structures can impose limitations, whereas this approach comprises an evolution towards agile, specialised and strategic boardrooms.

Q: Which segment of society do you feel will suit the Flex Executive Economy best? Are they young, up-and-coming business leaders or highly experienced senior officials who wish to retire, but still keep their minds active and continue to contribute to society?

A: Flex Executive Economy  is suitable for individuals with either extensive leadership experience or deep expertise in specific functions or domains. These executives boast proven track records and are eager to lend their expertise to contribute to the growth and success of hiring organisations.

Q: Would a Flex Executive Economy hamper the growth and development of younger leaders if senior positions in organisations are occupied by people of retirement age?

A: The Flex Executive Economy is open to all leaders and executives, based on the specialised expertise they bring in. The idea is to challenge conventional methods of board member recruitment, and we believe they may no longer be aligned with the needs of today’s world.

Q: Will equal prominence be given to female as well as male executives? How is a diverse and inclusive boardroom environment ensured?

A: Organisations leveraging diversity often gain a competitive edge in their industry. Board Match-Up uncovers talent that may have been overlooked in traditional talent acquisition methods, empowering organisations to fully utilise the capabilities of their leadership teams. We offer support to first-time women board members by providing the necessary coaching to prepare them for board-level roles.

Q: What opportunities, if any, do you feel are missed by companies by not having a diversified board? What do women bring to the table that men may not be able to, if any?

A: Organisations without a diverse board forego numerous valuable opportunities that could greatly influence their performance, reputation, and long-term viability. Promoting diverse perspectives is essential for fostering innovation and creativity, both of which are vital qualities for the success of any organisation.

Inclusion in the decision-making process is critical, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued because diversity goes beyond mere representation from minority groups. By embracing diversity and inclusion in the boardroom, companies can create a culture of belonging where every board member feels empowered to contribute their unique insights and expertise. This not only strengthens the board’s effectiveness but also enhances employee morale, customer satisfaction and overall organisational performance. In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, companies cannot afford to overlook the benefits of a diversified and inclusive board.