Career Development

What Does a Board Secretary Do?

Find out what a Board Secretary does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Board Secretary.

The Board Secretary plays an integral role in facilitating the smooth operation of a company’s or organization’s governing body. This position is responsible for ensuring that meetings are effectively organized and minuted, maintaining effective records and administration, upholding the legal requirements of governing documents, charity law, company law etc. (where relevant). The Board Secretary acts as a point of communication between the board of directors and management, shareholders, and relevant stakeholders. By managing the flow of information, they enable board members to make informed decisions, support the organization’s compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, and ensure that the board’s policies and strategies are effectively implemented. This role demands a high level of discretion, organizational skills, and attention to detail, serving as the backbone for the governance structure of the organization.

Board Secretary Job Duties

  • Prepare and distribute board meeting agendas in collaboration with the Chairperson, ensuring all relevant topics are included for discussion.
  • Record, transcribe, and distribute minutes of all board meetings, capturing decisions made, actions assigned, and votes taken.
  • Maintain and safeguard all official board documents and records, including bylaws, minutes, resolutions, and policies, ensuring compliance with legal requirements.
  • Facilitate communication between the board, committees, and senior management, acting as a liaison to ensure information flow is accurate and timely.
  • Coordinate the scheduling of board meetings, committee meetings, and other related events, managing logistics such as venue, technology needs, and attendee availability.
  • Oversee the board’s compliance with internal policies and external regulations, providing guidance on governance best practices.
  • Manage the induction and orientation process for new board members, providing them with necessary documentation, historical context, and governance structure information.
  • Handle the confidential and sensitive information of the board, ensuring discretion and integrity in dealing with internal and external stakeholders.

Board Secretary Salary & Outlook

Factors influencing a Board Secretary’s salary include industry sector, company size, and experience level. Responsibilities like corporate governance complexity, regulatory compliance, and stakeholder engagement depth also play a significant role. Additionally, the ability to handle confidential information and facilitate effective board communication can affect earnings.

  • Median Annual Salary: $69,825 ($33.57/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $106,000 ($50.96/hour)

The employment of board secretarys is expected to decline over the next decade.

The decline in Board Secretary employment is primarily due to advancements in digital meeting platforms and automation tools that streamline scheduling, minute-taking, and document management, reducing the need for manual intervention and thus decreasing demand for traditional Board Secretary roles.

Board Secretary Job Requirements

Education: A Board Secretary typically possesses an educational background ranging from an Associate’s Degree to a Bachelor’s Degree, with many having completed some college courses or holding a high school diploma. Relevant fields of study include business administration, public administration, or legal studies. Coursework often encompasses subjects like corporate governance, legal compliance, communication, and organizational management, equipping candidates with the necessary knowledge to effectively support and manage board operations.

Experience: Board Secretaries typically possess a blend of experience in administrative roles, often with a focus on governance, compliance, or corporate affairs. Their background usually includes hands-on involvement in meeting coordination, minute-taking, and document management. Many have progressed through on-the-job training or specialized training programs aimed at enhancing organizational, communication, and procedural skills. Experience in a legal, corporate, or non-profit setting is common, providing a solid foundation in the intricacies of board operations and stakeholder communication.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications and licenses are not typically required for the role of Board Secretary.

Board Secretary Skills

Meeting Management: Orchestrating board meetings efficiently involves setting agendas, preparing and distributing necessary materials in advance, and ensuring meticulous attention to detail. The Board Secretary facilitates discussions, manages time effectively, and follows up on action items, supporting the board’s decision-making process.

Minute Taking: Precision and clarity in capturing the essence of discussions, decisions, and actions during board meetings are paramount. The Board Secretary must be adept at listening, processing, and documenting simultaneously to ensure records are accurate, legally compliant, and serve as a reliable reference for future deliberations and actions.

Compliance Monitoring: The Board Secretary tracks and reports on compliance matters, ensuring that the board’s decisions and actions align with both internal policies and external regulatory requirements. A thorough understanding of legal frameworks is necessary to effectively safeguard the organization against potential compliance risks and penalties.

Record Retention: Organizing and safeguarding minutes, resolutions, and other critical documents for swift retrieval when required is a responsibility of the Board Secretary. This approach to document management supports operational efficiency and underpins strategic decision-making by providing accurate historical records.

Agenda Preparation: A detailed, clear, and concise agenda is crafted with a deep understanding of the board’s priorities and potential questions or issues that may arise. This skill enables efficient and productive meetings, covering all necessary topics within the allocated time.

Stakeholder Communication: Conveying complex information in an accessible manner to stakeholders is a skill that requires the Board Secretary to ensure clarity and alignment across diverse interests. Articulating board decisions and policies while understanding stakeholder perspectives facilitates informed discussions and decision-making processes.

Board Secretary Work Environment

A Board Secretary typically operates within a formal office setting, where the ambiance leans towards the professional. Their workspace is often equipped with standard office tools and technology, including computers, specialized software for document management, and secure communication devices to maintain confidentiality. The nature of their role demands a high level of organization, thus their work area is usually meticulously arranged.

Work hours can extend beyond the typical nine-to-five, especially during periods leading up to board meetings or when handling sensitive documents. Flexibility is required, yet it’s balanced with the understanding that the role is fundamental to the smooth operation of board activities. Interaction with board members, executives, and sometimes shareholders is frequent, necessitating a polished demeanor and attire that aligns with the corporate environment.

The pace can be fast, requiring a calm and focused approach. While travel might be minimal, the need for occasional attendance at off-site meetings or training sessions exists. Overall, the role is embedded in a culture that values precision, confidentiality, and professionalism, offering opportunities for growth within the corporate governance sphere.

Advancement Prospects

A Board Secretary can ascend to higher governance roles within an organization, such as Chief Governance Officer, leveraging their in-depth understanding of corporate governance and compliance. This progression requires mastering strategic decision-making and developing a keen insight into board dynamics.

To achieve such advancement, a Board Secretary should focus on enhancing their leadership and communication skills, essential for navigating complex boardroom discussions and influencing corporate strategy. Additionally, gaining experience in managing cross-functional teams and understanding the broader business landscape can be invaluable.

Specializing in areas like corporate law or governance risk management can also open pathways to consultancy roles, advising boards across various industries. This specialization requires a deep dive into specific regulatory environments or sectors, positioning the Board Secretary as an expert in their field.

Progressing in this career path involves a combination of strategic skill development and gaining practical experience in governance roles, with a focus on leadership, strategic influence, and specialized knowledge.


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