Corporate Governance: Empowering Boards with Insights from Divya Momaya, Founder of MentorMyBoard

A Conversation with Divya Momaya, Founder of MentorMyBoard on Bridging Governance Gaps, Women Leadership, and Future Initiatives

Corporate governance is a critical aspect of modern business, ensuring that companies are run effectively and ethically. MentorMyBoard, founded by Divya Momaya, is dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of board leaders through comprehensive education and mentorship. In this in-depth interview, we explore Divya’s journey, the impact of key initiatives like the Women Directors Conclave and the WOMB program, and her vision for the future of corporate governance.

1. Foundational Insights: Divya, could you walk us through the journey that led to the creation of MentorMyBoard? What were the specific gaps or opportunities you identified in the corporate governance landscape that motivated you to start this initiative?

The journey towards founding MentorMyBoard began with a realization of the critical gaps in corporate governance understanding and practice. In 2017, when over 2 lakh directors in India faced disqualification due to non-compliance with financial return filings, it underscored a significant deficiency in governance education. This situation illuminated the dire need to educate founders, promoters, and board members on good governance practices. Motivated by this gap and recognizing the evolving role of independent and women directors, Neha Shah and I embarked on the journey to establish MentorMyBoard. Our mission was clear, to create a platform that not only bridges this knowledge gap but also enhances the capabilities of board leaders through comprehensive governance education and mentorship.

2. Women Directors Conclave Impact: In 2021, you launched the Women Directors Conclave, an event that garnered significant attention, including from government officials.

The Women Directors Conclave was a pivotal initiative aimed at addressing the underrepresentation of women in boardrooms and empowering them to take on leadership roles. The conception of this conclave stemmed from recognizing the pivotal role women can play in governance and the need to provide them with the necessary support and resources. The event aimed to bring together accomplished women leaders, industry experts, and government officials to discuss challenges, share best practices, and inspire aspiring women directors. The impact of the conclave has been profound, with increased awareness and engagement around the importance of gender diversity in boardrooms. Government officials, including the Honourable Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, Ektaa Kapoor, MD of Balaji Telefilms, Union Cabinet Minister Smriti Irani, IAS Vinita Vaid Singhal Principal Secretary (Labour & Administration), Gov.Maharashtra and Regulators like Rujuta Banker, Asst ROC-Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Anannya ,Saikia, Deputy Director, SFIO, Harini Balaji, CGM-SEBI, Yogita Jadhav, Manager -SEBI along with other eminent women leaders of corporate India acknowledging the significance of such initiatives, further validated our efforts in driving positive change in boardroom dynamics.

3. Can you describe the conception and goals of this conclave? What outcomes have you observed since its inception?

The Women Directors Conclave was conceived with the goal of fostering gender diversity in boardrooms and empowering women to take on leadership roles in corporate governance. Such Conclaves aims to provide a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and mentorship, facilitating the exchange of ideas and experiences among women leaders. Since its inception, the conclave has achieved several outcomes, including increased awareness about the importance of gender diversity, enhanced networking opportunities for women directors, and the creation of a supportive community of like-minded individuals. The conclave has also inspired aspiring women executives to pursue board positions and equipped them with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in governance roles.

4. WOMB Initiative: The ‘WOMB’ initiative is particularly innovative. Could you elaborate on how this program assists rising women executives, and what are the key components that ensure its effectiveness?

In 2022, Our Finance minister at 2nd Women Directors Conclave launched The ‘WOMB’ (Women on Management and Boards) initiative for us which is designed to upskill and build capable rising women executives by providing them with the necessary resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to advance their careers in board leadership. The program offers a comprehensive curriculum covering various aspects of board leadership, governance practices, and professional development tailored to the specific needs of women leaders. Key components of the program include mentorship from experienced industry leaders, mentors and coaches, experiential learnings, case studies, practical boardroom dynamics, and opportunities to engage with industry experts and thought leaders to cross the threshold and become board ready. Once women board aspirants go through WOMB Mentorship program, they are more confident on their capabilities as board leaders and are ready to enter the boardrooms with better understanding and awareness of expectations from them in the boardrooms. Such mentoring programs are also helping women leaders to lead their own businesses and ventures with more clarity, confidence and better board leadership skills.

5. Board Dynamics: With your extensive experience as a company secretary and a board advisor, what key changes have you noticed in boardroom dynamics over the years? How does MentorMyBoard cater to these evolving needs?

Over the years, I have observed significant changes in boardroom dynamics driven by factors such as regulatory reforms, technological advancements, and shifting stakeholder expectations. Boards today are faced with greater scrutiny, regulatory oversight, accountability, and complexity, requiring directors to possess a diverse skill set and a deeper understanding of governance practices. MentorMyBoard addresses these evolving needs by building a unique Governance Tech Platform for Boardrooms, Industry Leaders and Board aspirants and offering tailored training programs, curated learning experiences, and access to a collaborative community of board leaders. Our platform equips boardrooms with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to navigate complex governance challenges, foster innovation, and drive sustainable business growth. By staying abreast of emerging trends and best practices in corporate governance, MentorMyBoard ensures that directors are well-equipped to effectively fulfill their roles and responsibilities in today’s dynamic business landscape.

6. Strategic Advice: For aspiring board members, what critical pieces of advice would you offer to prepare for such significant roles, especially in a rapidly changing corporate world?
For aspiring board members, my key pieces of advice would be to prioritize continuous learning, build a strong professional network, and cultivate a diverse skill set. Board roles require a deep understanding of governance principles, regulatory requirements, and industry trends, so investing in ongoing education and professional development is essential. Additionally, building relationships with experienced board members, industry experts, and mentors can provide valuable insights and guidance. Finally, developing a diverse skill set encompassing areas such as strategic planning, risk management, developing financial acumen and stakeholder engagement will position aspiring board members for success in navigating the challenges of a rapidly changing corporate world. By embracing these principles and committing to personal and professional growth, aspiring board members can prepare themselves to make meaningful contributions to boardrooms and drive positive change in corporate governance.
7. Future Projects: Looking forward, are there any new projects or expansions planned for MentorMyBoard that you can share with us today?
Looking ahead, MentorMyBoard is committed to expanding its offerings and enhancing its impact on the corporate governance landscape by becoming a one-stop platform for governance, education, mentoring, networking, and board opportunities. We aim to build an ethical corporate world where every boardroom is filled with effective leaders and diversity has a seat on the table.  We have several exciting projects and expansions in the pipeline, including the launch of new training programs, Mastermind -Circle of Directors across major cities,  the expansion of our collaborative community to 100,000 Directors, Promoters, Founders, Professionals and board ready independent and women directors and the development of innovative resources and tools for board leaders. MentorMyBaord aspires to redefine governance by promoting competence,diversity, and ethics in boardrooms worldwide through advanced technology, strategic partnerships, groundbreaking research, and sustainable governance   Critical research based initiatives, policy advocacy for becoming voice of board leaders to bridge the gap between aspiration and excellence, will be our major focus over years ahead.
Prittle Prattle News composed this article as an Interview.
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