Judy Andrews: Why you should just say YES!

Paul Smith

No matter how much you love your job, eventually you might find you tire of it. The same thing day in, day out can grow quite dull, yet making the choice to change trajectory and try something new can be too nerve-wracking to do. Judy Andrews knew this feeling, but unlike so many of us, she decided to take the plunge and switch things up. Judy was working as an accountant, and while she was happy enough in the role, she didn’t feel it was her true calling. She wanted to find a way to replace a high stress job with something closer to her heart, and she was ready for a challenge.

As is so often the case, Judy just wasn’t sure what challenge that would be. The idea finally came to her when she saw Future Directors founder, Paul Smith, speaking at a Women In Industry event back in 2017. His speech focused on how it was never too late to change course no matter what stage you were in your life, and the positive impacts generational and age diversity could bring to the boardroom, as long as you said yes, and took the chance. His words really resonated with Judy, and she became resolute in her decision to seek out a board role.

Like so many Future Directors Alumni, Judy wasn’t sure where to even begin on her board journey. What kind of board would she be best suited to? Who would she even approach to apply for a director role? Thankfully, once she came across the Future Director’s Make Me A Board Director program, all those questions – and more – were answered.

While participating in the program, Judy admittedly felt quite out of place. Alongside a number of young, dynamic people, she felt that in comparison to them, she didn’t have clear-cut goals or the same energetic enthusiasm. This was quite a confronting feeling, but the more time she spent with her cohorts, the more time she realised they actually had a lot in common – and that age didn’t really matter.

The first thing Judy realised through the program is that if she wanted to be open to the idea of being a board member, she first had to become open to the idea of saying “yes!”. This perspective was difficult at first, because it’s human nature to want to remain in your comfort zone, but she was able to recognise that her comfort zone just wasn’t challenging enough anymore.

That positive attitude became an integral part of Judy’s skillset, and was one of the main reasons she was able to achieve a board role. After the program, Judy was approached to sit on an interview panel for a role that had opened up. While, in the past, she might’ve declined due to time constraints or lack of interest, Judy decided to just say yes. And sitting on that interview panel allowed her to be seen in a professional, knowledgeable light. Through this opportunity, a Council board member reached out to her soon afterwards and invited her to interview for their board – a role she achieved all because she said yes.

So far, Judy is loving being on a board. The dynamic diversity and variety across the age and experience of board members has helped her see many things in a different way – including herself. No longer seeing age as a barrier, or something to feel self conscious of, she’s become so much more confident and driven. Regardless of age, experience and industry, Judy learned that just saying yes was the key to opening a myriad of doors that might’ve remained closed otherwise.

If, like Judy, you want to build your career confidence and add non-executive to your CV then check out Make Me a Board Director or start with our Director Diagnostic Tool.