IoD documentary podcast gets under the skin of governance

Media release
By Institute of Directors
28 Nov 2022
read time
3 min to read
Across the Board banner with Kirstent Patterson and Sonia Yee

If you thought you knew about directors and boards, your ideas are about to be blown out of the water.

Across the Board is a new documentary podcast series that challenges some of the stereotypical thinking on what goes on in the boardroom – how governance impacts our lives – and why we should take notice now, more than ever.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) CEO and presenter Kirsten Patterson says today directors need to understand and grapple with a rapidly changing social, economic and political landscape and their decisions need to keep pace, and still be well-informed.

The seven-part podcast series digs deep on issues such as technology, climate, diversity and inclusion. It also includes experiences of what it's like to be bullied on a board, dealing with stress at the top, and why opening up about your experiences isn’t as easy as you might think.

There are also tips for those wanting to get their first board role and directors share their insights into what success and failure looks like when you finally get a seat at the table.

“Being a director is not for the faint hearted and there is a real imperative for directors to have a broad focus beyond the financial goal posts,” says Patterson.

She adds that whether they’re making decisions for an NZX- listed company, a small to medium business, a not-for-profit that serves the community – or even a school board of trustees – that directors also have to think about the moral and ethical issues that could have major implications and flow on effects not only for that company or organisation, but also for the wider community.

“It is a director’s job to ensure the well-being of the company or organisations they serve Ultimately, the decisions they make impact on employees, volunteers, and that trickles down to the surrounding communities who might use an organisation's services, or buy a company's products,” says Patterson. 

For those keen to take a seat at the table, it is important to be careful about the boards you choose to sit on. Patterson says the job is becoming increasingly demanding due to the scope of director or trustee duties, legal responsibilities and liabilities, and the increasing community expectations required.

Across the Board is designed to get under the skin of the stories to find out why directors do the work they do and what happens when everything comes tumbling down.

While the subject matter is quite focused, the stories are vast and the experiences are rich.

Patterson says some of the content is raw and hard-hitting and some of the stories will send shivers up your spine, especially when dealing with issues such as modern slavery and depression.  

The series, produced and co-presented by former RNZ award-winning podcast producer Sonia Yee, is being hosted by NZME, which has a combined print and digital audience for the NZ Herald of 2.26 million a week, and iHeart Radio, which has 800,000 listeners a month. 

“I think people will be surprised by the range of topics covered in Across the Board,” says NZME planning editor, Andrew Laxon.

Interspersed with director stories you’ll hear a bit of potted history, perspectives from researchers and psychologists, including Dr Emily Beausoleil from Victoria University who talks about ‘the right to speak’ and why it's harder for those who don’t hold status in society to do so.

“Sonia and Kirsten have done a great job in exploring directors’ wider ethical obligations, which can be a lot more complex than most of us imagine,” Laxon says.

Presenting a podcast is new for IoD’s CEO Patterson who is more accustomed to being in front of a live audience giving speeches.

“It’s been really fun, and I’ve learnt some new things along the way. It’s great to be part of an exciting project that will really make a difference and showcase how governance affects all of us every day,” she says. 

The podcast, sponsored by ASB bank and in partnership with the NZ Herald, launches 3 December, 2022. Listen to the Trailer

Across the board podcast links 

iHeart Radio | Apple Podcast Player | Spotify

For more information, please contact: 

Sonia Yee
Senior Advisor – Communications and Media
022 354 6417