Monday, February 2, 2009

What's Next, Next Director?

Recently, I interviewed marketing and strategy consultant Michael Field (@michaelfieldcom) regarding his new LinkedIn group Next Director, how he promoted it, and how the group has grown.

Katrina: What is Next Director and what are the benefits to becoming a member of the group?

Michael: Next Director is a global online community of more than 300 emerging and aspiring company directors who connect via the LinkedIn online network. The benefits to members include access to a global network of aspiring, emerging and practicing company directors, governance experts, regulators, recruiters and others interested in directorship.

Next Director provides practicing directors with the opportunity to contribute to the director community through sharing their experience and connecting with emerging directors.
Aspiring and emerging company directors can connect and engage with experienced directors, recruiters and regulators to obtain more practical insights into the role and requirements of a company Director.

Specialist executive recruiters and recruiters for board positions have also shown a strong interest. I expect that to be a positive relationship for all participants.

Katrina: How many members are a part of Next Director, and how did you go about attracting them?

Michael: Next Director was launched on 22 November 2008, it has already attracted more than 300 directors globally, including Australia, United States, Canada, Chile, United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates, Japan, China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore. Experienced directors were hand-picked from my own network as well as those whose career path is moving beyond management and into director roles.

The marketing was conducted exclusively online through social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. The viral effect has been quite extraordinary and has produced a number of interesting results:

1) The quality of applicants has been extraordinarily high. I attribute this to the calibre of the founding members and the professional focus of networks such as LinkedIn.
2) The global reach was immediate and very experienced directors have joined, showing a great interest in contributing their expertise.

Katrina: Who did you expect your target audience to be, and what are the demographics of your current group?

Michael: To join Next Director, your career and experience must demonstrate that you are managing those aspects of your career that make for a suitable director. This can include formal education and skills gained through employment or other community involvement. It is a difficult criteria to define, but Next Director is clearly focused on Directorship, not management issues.

The demographics of the group are interesting:

47% are from Australia
30% are from the United States
7% are from the United Kingdom
The balance are evenly distributed across the countries mentioned earlier.

50% are in senior management positions exploring directorship as a next step
16% are executive directors
2% are Chairmen
Academics, regulators and governance advisors represent much smaller numbers.

Katrina: What are your future plans for Next Director?

Michael: When the group reaches ‘critical mass’ and additional services are required (such as a dedicated website) I will respond to that need. I have looked at a number of funding models and obviously in the fast-moving social media market there are many exciting options available.
I have met with a number of service providers including specialist executive search firms to consider developing additional services.

I see digital distribution of content as a key platform for growth of Next Director.

About Michael Field

Michael Field is a strategic marketing consultant based in Sydney Australia.He has worked in a number of senior marketing roles in listed technology companies. As the former General Manager of Member Services and Marketing for the Australian Institute of Company Directors he held wide ranging responsibilities including the ASX Top200 programme.
Michael has served on the board of Save the Children Victoria and is a former guest lecturer in marketing at ECU in Western Australia.
He now manages his own marketing consultancy at

If you are not already a Next Director member on LinkedIn you are invited to join at:


Follow Michael on Twitter

Follow Next Director on Twitter

Join Next Director

Michael Field's Consultancy Site

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