Claiming your place at the top

How should communication directors prepare for board-level roles? Start by taking advantage of their unique ability to lead collaboration and advocacy, innovate internally and externally, and to shape their company‘s reputation.


As a specialist communications and public relations recruiter, I work with my clients to define the capabilities of an ideal chief communications officer. The obvious skills required in this role are strategic capabilities, being a trusted adviser and owning relationships with media and influencers. In addition, there is a need to have a business brain, be financially literate, understand the importance of legal and compliance as well as navigate highly matrixed work environments in order to try and earn a seat at the boardroom table.

The challenge as a recruiter is not finding the candidates with the basic communications skill set, but rather to find senior communicators who possess the skills to take on a larger role within the business and take responsibility to provide greater value to the business.

In contrast, the challenge for many candidates is adopting a leadership mindset that goes beyond being just a trusted adviser but is truly a leader in the business that shapes behaviour – inside and out – and makes the company’s values a reality.

Emma Dale

Emma Dale co-founded Prospect in London in 2002, before relocating in 2009 to Hong Kong to set up Prospect’s Asia operation, working on senior public relations and communication roles across the region with a focus on the Hong Kong, Singapore and China markets.