How Nick Crowther Got His Appetite for the Boardroom Back

Paul Smith

Nick Crowther is the managing director of Freerange Future, a creative marketing agency and certified B Corp that focuses on furthering progressive causes and cultivating positive changes. The company has been well-aligned with Nick’s personal values and beliefs, especially that of the importance of giving back to the community.

Initially, Nick had the desire to join a board in order to give back. He wanted to offer his services and expertise, and he was eager to join a charity board in order to provide it. For two years, Nick was a volunteer director of a national committee, and he found his experience to be one of dysfunction and lack of control. He was alarmed by the fact that there was not much effort being made from the chair in regards to getting everyone to put the effort in. This experience left Nick feeling uninspired and, when he left, he found he had lost the urge to try for another board role.

Nick knew one of the founders of Future Directors, Paul Smith, back when the company was known as XY on Boards, and it piqued his interest from the beginning. Though Nick had been somewhat disillusioned by the idea of joining another board, attending the board program encouraged and motivated him to reconsider. He found it to be really energising, and he especially enjoyed the focus on diversity across boards regarding age, gender and characteristics.

He believes the work that Future Directors is doing is extremely valuable, both for society as a whole and on an individual level.

After the program, Nick was able to better understand the process that goes into selecting both a board to join and members for a board. He also learned about due diligence, how to identify his own due diligence, and why it’s such a critical aspect in the boardroom. He gained a greater understanding of how boards operate both inside and out of the boardroom, how a consensus is built across a board as well as the varying politics that come with being a director. Nick found the network and the diversity among the other program participants to be enormously supportive, and was able to gain a long-lasting rapport with many of them.

Nick believes anyone would benefit from the program, especially those who are running their own companies or NFPs and want to properly empower their employees and/or teams. It opened his eyes to how a boardroom can run effectively and without dysfunction, how to identify good boards, as well as how he himself could make a board more effective.

These days, Nick is a director at Adelaide’s Festival of Ideas. The program gave him the confidence needed to reach out to the chair of the board, but as luck would have it, they reached out to him first. What’s more, it continued to help Nick long after he completed it, as he was able to adequately prepare for their first board meeting thanks to the mock meetings held during the program.