The former co-CEO of Ogilvy Group North America, Bill Gray spends much of his time providing business advice and assistance to companies. Bill Gray has served as a senior advisor for Blackstone Portfolio Operations Group and as a board member for The Advertising Council and the American Red Cross as well as other entities.
A board of directors is only as strong as its individual members, and several basic traits are common among effective board members. Good judgment and the ability to make good decisions is an important part of being an effective board member. This ensures board members successfully handle difficult problems and make good decisions on hiring, legal, and financial issues.
Individuals who have experience and a proven record of successful leadership skills and business acumen often make good board members. They are familiar with the potential consequences of decisions, and others view them as leaders, which increases their credibility when they offer valuable feedback.
Board members should always have a valid interest in the company. If they lack motivation or interest, they may not devote the necessary time and resources to help the company flourish. In particular, having a financial interest in the company ensures board members are attentive and effective at handling their assigned responsibilities.
Serving on a board often takes a considerable amount of time, and this requires a fair amount of dedication. Effective board members are available to handle details and problems without overextending themselves to the point of failing to get the job done.
An alumnus of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (UVA), Bill Gray earned his MBA from the school. Bill Gray, who spent more than 30 years a co-chief executive officer of Ogilvy Group North America, retains strong ties to his alma mater as a featured speaker and lecturer to current students.
UVA’s Darden School recently named winners of the first-ever pitch night competition based on business platforms dealing with environmental sustainability. Held in January at the W. L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory on campus, the event saw six individuals pitching ideas before a packed room. The Darden School supported the event to promote environmental awareness while also putting business students in a high-pressure, real-world situation. Anna Perry, a high school student, earned the People’s Choice award as well as the Most Feasible Idea award for her pitch on composting in elementary and high schools. Top honors, however, went to Joni Lane for her hemp-based insulation idea.