Janice Charley: Setting the Compass
Janice Charley already had some board experience prior to enrolling in the inaugural session of the Silicon Valley Executive Center’s Women’s Corporate Board Readiness (WCBR) program in May of 2019. She had been appointed as a chairman of the board of a company after serving as their consulting CFO for 3 years. Because she had prior M&A experience, Charley was able to help lead the company through a sale to a publicly-traded company. After successfully selling the company, Charley decided she wanted additional education to help her in continuing her work on boards. “As a former CFO, it’s a lot easier to get a board seat. I enrolled in WCBR to give me the education and confidence to pursue companies with open board seats, companies with potential board openings, and board recruiters,” said Charley.
The Women’s Corporate Board Readiness program was launched after the passing of SB826 to help experienced women land seats on corporate boards. It is now recruiting its fourth cohort. The program teaches women the legal, regulatory, and operational knowledge they will need to be a successful board member. It also helps women learn how to seek and obtain board positions. WCBR empowers women to be bold and authentic in their approach. Charley said, “I came up with a tagline for myself in the course: I am a champion of setting the compass, meeting challenges, and shaping the change.”
A unique feature of the WCBR program at Santa Clara University is its mentorship component. Through the program and her work with her WCBR mentor, Charley learned to market herself while pursuing board openings. “When I would talk about my career history in terms of getting a board position, my mentor would steer me in the direction of how a board member would answer questions about herself versus as an employee.” Charley connected so well with her mentor that they remain in contact. Charley has even become a program mentor herself.
Currently, Charley is a chair on the Governance Committee of Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation, and on the audit committee of the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association. She is also founding CFO of a robotic technology company enabling digital transformation in the pathology industry.