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Adam Sommerfeld, IoD member

Ayesha Sultan CDir

Board Member

"Becoming a member of the IoD is a great boost to your career. The IoD gives you a platform and a community to be able to interact with like-minded individuals and share ideas.”

What was the main challenge you experienced as a business leader before joining the IoD?

"The main challenge I faced before joining the IoD and enrolling in the Chartered Director programme, was to clearly understand the distinction between the role of the board and the role of management. The IoD greatly helped to clarify the roles and duties of the individual board member, and also the roles and duties of the collective board. It also highlighted what was not the role of a board member and what management needed to be responsible and accountable for."

What have you found as a result of being an IoD member?

"Prior to taking the Chartered Director programme at the IoD, I was learning how to be a board member through on the job practice and learning from peers. The programme provided me with a structured learning on corporate governance, roles and duties of board members. As a result I have found that my knowledge and understanding about corporate governance has increased tremendously and I am able to do my job as a board member to a higher standard."

How long have you been a member of the IoD?

"I joined the IoD in 2014 because I wanted to improve my skills and enhance my understanding in the field of corporate governance, to be able to perform to the highest standards as a board member."

What is your favourite thing about being part of the IoD community?

"As I am based in Dubai, I don’t get a chance to use the IoD London office except occasionally, but when I do, the facilities are comfortable and encourage networking and exchanging of experiences, which is very beneficial. My main aim when joining the IoD was to meet and have an exchange of experiences and views with like-minded peers on corporate governance and to stay up to date with the latest developments in the field.

I also enjoy the continuous learning aspect, as this is an element that keeps the director motivated to stay up to date with the latest in corporate governance and therefore relevant and able to conduct their role as a board member to the highest levels of professionalism. The IoD community has also introduced me to other European corporate governance entities and therefore increased my network in the field, which has also been beneficial. "

“The Chartered Director qualification has helped me gain more recognition and enhanced my opportunities of being selected to become a board member.”

What are three other benefits you’ve enjoyed as a result of being a member?

"As a result of being a member of the IoD, I was asked to mentor a lady based in Finland, as part of the European Women on Boards (EWoB) programme that was launched in Brussels in 2015. This was a great networking initiative, with the opportunity to give back to the community and help other women keen to take on board or committee seats and support them in their development.

The Chartered Director qualification has helped me gain more recognition as someone who is serious about corporate governance and enhanced my opportunities of being selected to become a board member. I have also enjoyed getting to know more directors and being part of the exchanges on the latest in corporate governance."

How does being a member of the IoD help you succeed in your career?

"Becoming a Chartered Director was a personal goal and it has been a very positive step in my career. I am now better informed and up to date on the latest developments in the field of corporate governance and I am therefore better able to perform my role as a board member to the highest standards. I would therefore say that in addition to having experience on boards, the CharteredDirector programme has given me an additional boost when it comes to being selected for positions on boards."

“I have found that my knowledge and understanding about corporate governance has increased tremendously.”

How has the IoD changed for the better?

"In my time, I have found that the IoD has been very active, for example recommending me for the EWoB programme in Brussels and I have found it to be a very beneficial membership."

What does being a business leader mean to you?

"Being a business leader means leading an organisation or a community to achieve a shared vision. A business leader needs to establish a vision, gain buy in for the vision, and provide information, resources and knowledge to enable the realisation of that vision. For businesses this vision involves promoting the success of the company for the long term."

What would you say to anyone considering becoming a member and would you recommend it?

"I would say becoming a member of the IoD is a great boost to your career. Not only does the IoD and the Chartered Director programme give you structure and enhance your knowledge in the field of corporate governance, but it also gives you a platform and a community to be able to interact with like minded individuals and to be able to seek alternative views and share ideas and to be kept up to date with the latest in corporate governance."

If you could give one piece of advice to fellow directors, what would it be and why?

"My advice would be to ‘move beyond your comfort zone to learn and grow’. I started becoming interested in boards when I had an opportunity in 2012 to become an Independent Non Executive Board Member. At that point in time my knowledge on corporate governance was limited and it was my peers who supported me to understand my role.

As I grew in the role and I wanted to gain more of an understanding of corporate governance and my duties as a board member, I embarked on the Chartered Director programme and joined the IoD, and continued to push myself to learn about corporate governance.

This has led me to being a member of 5 boards and holding a variety of positions from Executive to Independent Non Executive Board Member, as well as Chairman and Vice Chairman of Audit and HR committees, which has contributed greatly to my ability to perform my duties as a board member to a higher standard. My advice therefore is to continue past your comfort zone to take opportunities to learn new fields and grow in your career."

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