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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Julie Garland McLellan

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Julie Garland McLellan

Name: Julie Garland McLellan

Current title: CEO

Current organisation: The Director's Dilemma

My joy in work is to help boards and directors to maximise their impact, focus on the things that matter, and build great organisations.

Over the past 23 years I have worked directly with individuals and boards, as well as through leading institutions such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Governance Institute of Australia, to empower great governance that radically improves organisation performance.

I don’t just preach the latest governance theory (although I know it well): I have served on 18 Boards, with experience of organisations in the resources, engineering, utilities, infrastructure and not-for-profit sectors. In that time, I have led two turnarounds, two IPOs and one relisting, many refinancings and restructures, and developed strong boards that face and conquer challenges.

I am a qualified professional speaker on boardroom issues and in demand for courses, seminars and conferences, combining personal anecdotes, humour, world-class expertise and my extensive experience as a director to engage, stimulate and educate.

As the author of six books and many training materials for company directors, I am an acknowledged expert on resolving a wide range of complex governance issues. My newsletter 'The Director's Dilemma' reaches readers in 33 countries. You can subscribe for a free copy at

I am best known for The High Impact Board Program. This five step program focuses on individual directors and the board to apply the four principles that underpin real board success to drive real organisation performance. The program has helped boards to build and sustain high performance and lasting impact.

I can also help individual directors and chairs with personalised mentoring based on real board experience. If you need help with your board’s performance review, strategy engagement, or a delicate boardroom problem that is hampering your progress please give me a call on +61 411 262 470.

7 Questions with Julie Garland McLellan


1. What have you found most challenging as a board member?

The need to lead when the board is headed in a dangerous direction.

2. How did you become a board member? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My first board was an international subsidiary of a multinational firm - I was promoted to run the Spanish office and only found out after I got there that I was on the board (and who else was there with me).
I went all out to learn about the duties and how to discharge them and discovered that I love the board environment.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Every day is different. Meeting days (especially if they have travel) are unique and very different to reading days, mentoring days, or training days.
Every day I make sure I have at least an hour to exercise and/or relax.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

That sometimes it is more important to look the part than to know how to do the job.

5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in a organisation?

Have everyone in the team agreed about what their governance role is.
Be aware of the costs of failing in your governance.
Stay in touch with what is happening in the real world and especially inside your company.

6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of a organisation?

One is a non-executive leadership role, the others are executive leadership roles. They are very different.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a board member so far?

Just one?
There are hundreds.
If your work in the boardroom isn't meaningful then you are not doing the job right.

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