Hannah Stenning: Setting Her Sights on the Boardroom

Paul Smith

Like many of the highly talented alumni from the Future Directors Institute, Hannah Stenning is someone who’s proving to the world that you don’t have to be cut in the traditional director mould to make it as a successful non-executive. Hannah is a trailblazer in the media industry, having become the first commissioning editor for Australia’s biggest news website, News.com.au, where she spearheaded the organisation’s first Facebook live leaders debate ahead of the 2016 federal election. And since turning her sights to the boardroom, she’s landed a major role with Delta Society Australia.

The moment when Hannah first realised that she wanted to join a board, she was immediately struck with a sense of not having a clue where to start. She’d heard of all the advantages that come with being on a board, but the notion of actually becoming a director seemed like a far off and distant ideal. Not only did Hannah not know where to start, she didn’t even know if a boardroom would want her in the first place.

It wasn’t until she joined the Future Directors’ Kickstarter Programme that she realised the value of what she had to offer, and how to go about finding the perfect board role for her.

On the programme, Hannah learned exactly which industries her particular experience and expertise were applicable to, and that her career in media would be an attractive proposition to many boardrooms.

But more than that, Hannah learned to have the confidence in herself to approach boards. She was placed far outside of her comfort zone on the programme, forced to talk about herself, and share her skill-sets and career qualities with other members of the group. All in all, it gave her the confidence to go out and do it.

And that’s exactly what she did. After finishing the programme, she began putting into action everything she’d learned, and letting her networks know that she was on the lookout for director positions. From there, she heard about the Delta Society – a non-profit organisation that believes in improving the animal-human bond between dogs and people of all ages. Like Hannah, Delta have big aims, so it’s no wonder that after approaching the organisation, Hannah was offered an interview to join their board. Delta was the first and only boardroom Hannah applied for, and now she’s able to apply her skills and experience to a cause that she loves.

For Hannah, the greatest benefit from taking part in the Kickstarter Programme is the ongoing support she still receives to this day. She’s still in contact with fellow alumni, attends Future Director events and speaks with co-founder and CEO, Paul Smith. As Hannah says, the programme may only be a weekend, but its effect and impact last for far longer than that.

Inspired by Hannah? Take the next steps and check out our FREE Director Diagnostic.