Introducing Women for the Board presenters

With Westminster Business School’s next Women for the Board Programme, starting 13 January 2016, now open for booking, it’s a good time to introduce some of our fabulous presenters.

This week…

Meet Lani Bannach

Lani – who leads the Women for the Board session on risk management and governance – completed her MBA at Westminster Business School in 1997. That year she joined the board of the Danish-UK Chamber of Commerce, and was appointed MD of UBS London Switzerland.

One of Denmark’s most successful international businesswomen, she is now Chairman of Essenta, a specialised advisory company where her responsibilities include solutions for handling complexity in organisations and for meeting the regulatory changes and challenges of financial institutions and decision intelligence for corporates.

Lani has broad international board experience and a broad range of interests. In 2002, she produced the CD Defiant Dames, sold in aid of Breast Cancer Campaign  and, in her youth, won the Danish national judo championship. This devotion to sporting activities led to an early career boost. “At the age of 24, because I had been a youth leader and the president of a sports club, I was asked to join the board of an NGO. It was fantastic to be part of the decision-making at a higher level. And it was a very useful experience.”

Lani’s advice for joining a board

“The best positions I have had,”Lani says “have been acquired through networks and networking, where I’ve been recommended.”

“The best thing is to network with people on boards, because they are already there and they are the ones who can and will lift you up. Once you’re there, help other people get in. Because good governance is about circulation on the board. We need more people and new, fresh eyes. The best boards work like that.”

Going international and going up

The biggest step in Lani’s board career was, she says, when she made the jump to work internationally. “There are big differences,” she says. “Cultural differences, differences in law and in decision-making.” But whether your board career crosses national boundaries or not “as you progress through bigger, more important, or more significant boards, your toolbox has to be expanded as well. And you have to keep up-to-date.”

She considers the biggest benefit participants gain from the Women for the Board Programme is the all-round introduction to the issues a board faces: “the various roles, the difficult decisions, the lifecycle a company goes through, the power play… The Programme equips the participants to take on the roles that are right for them, on the right board, in the right way.”

5 must-reads recommended by Lani Bannach

Inside the 2015 Fortune Most Powerful Women list – Jennifer Reingold in Fortune

Roderick Kramer: How to Avoid Paranoia in the Workplace Loren Mooney in Insights by Stanford Business

Here’s why networking isn’t just about landing your dream job – Hal Gregerson in F0rtune

Decision making: a cognitive process of choice – Dr Jennifer Murray for Essenta (PDF download)

That Moment When A Quiet Leader Outshines The Loud One – Rob Asghar in Forbes

More from Lani

The 5 Ps: passion, a plan, performance, persistence and, finally, a peak: how to climb your personal mountain – Lani on the lessons she learned training for, and winning the Danish National Judo Championship.

Born Again – Guardian article from 2005. Includes an interview with Lani about work and parenthood.

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