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Exploring What’s Critical in the Process of Building a Board of Directors for Young Companies

  • February 24, 2015

  • Putting a strong Board of Directors in place can wait until the company has made more progress, right? Wrong. The importance of having a high quality Board of Directors cannot be overstated, especially for young companies.  Sophia Kysiak, Founder of BioDirectors llc speaks with Valerie Bowling, Executive Director at the Conference Forum about board development.

    Valerie Bowling, Executive Director, The Conference Forum at CMO East 2014

    Valerie Bowling, Executive Director, The Conference Forum at CMO East 2014

    Q: Give us some insight as to why the right board is so important?

    A: The right Board members increase the company’s credibility, which is particularly important for young companies, as well as those trying to raise money (which all companies do some point).   A strong Board will also include individuals with a solid track record in that industry, who can provide strategic guidance as the company is making key decisions which could impact their likelihood of success down the road. Last week I was speaking with the CEO of a successful neurology company who said they would not be where they are today if they had not made the right decisions early on.

    Q: What else can the right group of board members do?

    A: Expertise is another key area where the right Board members can make all the difference. Financial expertise is one of the most common areas companies seek. Increasingly, however, biotech and pharma companies are realizing that adding expertise to the Board in areas like clinical development, commercialization or business development/dealmaking can make a big difference in their ability to go from having a therapeutic candidate to an actual product.

    Networks – opening doors which would otherwise have remained closed or even invisible to growing companies are another area where the right Board members can make a huge difference. Introductions through a Board member to VC firms, potential pharma partners or other potentially ‘future-changing’ contacts are invaluable.

    Relevant experience is also an area that needs to be mentioned when looking at what the right Board can bring to a growing company. People who have become successful know how to do it again. They have been through the ups and downs, know many of the hidden and not so hidden obstacles that will come your way and how to best handle them.

    Q: What is the key take away readers should note carefully?

    A: There are numerous benefits of having the right Board members in place, and they can change as companies evolve. If there is one thing worth remembering here it is that your upfront investment in designing, researching, identifying and recruiting the best possible Board members – at the beginning AND as your company is moving to new stages of development – will pay off in ways you may not even know exist right now.


    Sophia Kysiak, Founder of BioDirectors llc

    Sophia Kysiak is the Founder of BioDirectors, which combines one of the biopharmaceutical industry’s largest networks of executives with companies looking to create or augment their Board of Directors. Sophia has 20+ years of experience building executive level biopharmaceutical networks, BioDirectors’ goal is to find the Right Board Member at the Right Time for companies, and the Right Board Seat at the Right Time for industry executives interested in that role. For more information, visit,

    Sophia is also advising the Conference Forum on their session dedicated to Board Development and Communications for the Chief Medical Officer Summit East taking place in Boston on May 4-5, 2015.