For our May success story, we interviewed Mark Smith, a member of NonExecutiveDirectors.com and TheConsultantHub.com since September 2017. Within just a month of joining, Mark identified a suitable opening as a Non-Executive Director for Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, and successfully secured the position. Read on to find out about his network experience and new role.
With a career in marketing and communications spanning almost 30 years, Mark has spent the majority of his career working for various leading mobile and telecommunications organisations. A significant proportion of this was spent at GSMA - the mobile industry’s principle global association - as the Communications Director then Marketing Director. Mark played an instrumental role in the establishment, growth and success of the organisation and its flagship event, the Mobile World Congress, helping the business to generate revenues of over $200 million.
In 2017, Mark made the decision to stand back from his full-time position at GSMA and start providing third-party advice to various organisations as a Consultant and Non-Executive Director. Within a matter of months of leaving GSMA, Mark had established his own consultancy business, Mark Smith Associates Ltd and began to actively search for non-executive vacancies. He was particularly interested in non-executive openings having enjoyed a highly successful six years as a Director & Trustee for the Henley Festival.
In September of last year, Mark came across NonExecutiveDirectors.com and TheConsultantHub.com and decided to become a member of both networks to support his ambitions of pursuing a portfolio career. Mark has been a proactive member since the very beginning, completing his profile so that recruiters can find him and booking onto various networking events to develop his knowledge.
Within just a month of being a member, Mark came across a role on the NonExecutiveDirectors.com jobs board for an opening at Ofcom. He felt that this was a perfect fit for his professional background and was excited by the prospect of offering strategic advice to such a prestigious body.
Commenting on the application and interview process, Mark said: “It was a pleasant surprise to see the Ofcom role on the jobs board so soon after joining. I knew that it was a perfect fit for me. After submitting my application, I was invited for an interview in front of a panel of five. It was pretty daunting, especially as this was the very first non-executive position that I’d applied for.”
When asked what advice he would offer other professionals going for their first non-executive role he said: “Only apply for roles that you are passionate about and have clarity around what you want from a non-executive career. If you secure an interview, then make sure you are very well prepared. It may sound common sense but ensure you get an in-depth understanding of the organisation and the challenges that they may face. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewers some very challenging questions but also don’t dominate an interview, make sure you listen to their responses.”
Mark officially started his position as a Non-Executive Director on Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for England in January 2018. He believes that he secured the position through a combination of good timing and the fact that his professional background complemented the rest of the board who mainly had backgrounds in broadcast.
Commenting on the position, he said: “It is a fascinating role and although I’ve only been to one meeting thus far, I’m already thoroughly enjoying it. As part of my role, I’m asked to attend a meeting every two months where subject matter experts from Ofcom come and present the latest updates on the organisation’s work and progress. It is then my role as a Non-Executive Director to offer advice and feedback. It is a highly complex area, but to me it's incredibly interesting.”
Ideally, Mark is looking to take on a couple more non-executive roles in the media, entertainment & telecoms spheres, putting over 25 years of experience to good work and continues to actively use the jobs boards to find roles suited to his experience and interests.
He adds: “I’ve had a very positive experience on the networks so far and I hope that it continues. Later this month I’m attending an evening networking event about developing my brand as a Non-Executive Director and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Network with members like Mark and accelerate your portfolio career today by signing up to NonExecutiveDirectors.com here.