ILANZ, In-House Lawyers Association of New Zealand


Charming the Board – Practical tips for smashing your interactions with the Board and earning the envy of your peers

Charming the Board – Practical tips for smashing your interactions with the Board and earning the envy of your peers

Herman Visagie has spent over a decade working for, and on, boards. With experience as a company secretary, a reporting executive, and a board member, he has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in terms of board papers and presentations.

As lawyers and senior leaders we are often required to engage with Boards, whether that is in the form of reporting, providing information, or formally advising Boards. But few of us are taught how to do it well.

In this practical session Herman will share his top tips for improving your engagement in the Board.

This session will be of interest to any lawyers engaging with Boards, both General Counsels and senior lawyers. He will share the tips and tricks he and others have used to improve board understanding, increase alignment between management and the board, and improve your persuasiveness as a presenter.

He will share his experience and practical tips on how to:

  • navigate board processes;
  • assess the best approach for engaging with the Board on any issue;\
  • clarify your ask and refine how you choose to communicate with the Board;
  • improve the quality of Board papers; and
  • present effectively.

After this session, you will have:

  • practical tips and tricks that you can implement quickly and easily;
  • improved clarity around the Boardroom dynamic and how you can best navigate it;
  • insights about the common pitfalls, and how to avoid them; and
  • greater confidence around your engagements with Boards.

A summary of the key points, including his top tip check list, will be provided after the session.


About Herman Visagie

Herman is an experienced executive level General Counsel, Company Secretary, and seasoned governor. He is passionate about the power of good governance and effective relationships between boards and management teams to help organisations achieve their desired outcomes more effectively.


Herman is currently General Counsel at the Real Estate Authority and holds board roles in the not-for-profit and regulatory sectors. He served for four years on the Board of the New Zealand Law Society, including acting as the Chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. He was previously a Vice President of the Board and has held roles on the ILANZ Committee and Regulatory Advisory Group. Outside of the legal profession he is currently serving as the Chair of ActionStation Aotearoa and Board member of The Mentoring Foundation of New Zealand.


In his professional life he has held a number of senior positions in the legal and governance field, including as General Counsel and Company Secretary for TSB Bank. During his time there he led a significant governance improvement programme, including reviews of governance documentation, operations, and board reporting. He also provided training and education to senior leaders around effective Board engagement.


More widely, he has also led strategy development and governance improvements for a number of not-for-profit organisations and is currently leading a team developing a new five-year strategy and reviewing the governance structure of the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network in Bangkok.


He has coached and mentored a number of not-for-profit leaders and new governors, as well as presenting training sessions on strategy development, board level risk management, and effectively working with boards. This has included previous governance related presentations at ILANZ.


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