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Board Appointments


How We Work With You

At Watermark Search International, we assist in:

    • Developing a board skills matrix to identify potential, current or future, experience gaps;

  • Broadening the diversity of a board;

  • Building boards from scratch;

      • Advising on the appropriate levels of Directors fees;

        • Building new skills into the board;

      • Building Advisory Boards;

        • Building an onboarding process for new Directors.

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Our analytic data on five types of Board Diversity in Australia.

Download your copy of Watermark's Board Diversity Index today.


Board Webinars and Podcast


Case Studies


We were appointed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (between September 2020 to April 2022) to support the Board recruitment for the ABC and SBS. In October 2020, we commenced the recruitment of two Non-Executive Directors for the ABC Board. We worked closely with the independent Nominations Panel who were required to provide recommendations to the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts and they in turn would make a recommendation to the Governor-General who has responsibility for appointing NEDs to the ABC Board.

These recruitment processes are lengthy and receive an intense level of scrutiny, so we needed to ensure appropriate and timely communication; ensuring our processes are robust and well documented and supported by appropriate due diligence. In addition, the nature of the opportunity sparked a high level of interest and we received over 400 applications. We were required to assess and report on each applicant’s claim against the legislated capabilities. The close date was a Friday, and we provided the report on the following Tuesday, which represents an incredibly tight turn around. Throughout the process we had to appropriately manage and support all candidates through a lengthy and at times intrusive appointment process.

Alongside the advertised process our in-house research team identified, approached and attracted appropriately qualified candidates with media and broadcasting knowledge into the process. In addition to the specific skills capabilities sought we needed to ensure an appropriate geographic spread of candidates and a gender balance.

Throughout the assignment, we worked closely with the Department and the Independent Nominations Panel to ensure we supported their needs in a timely and professional manner. At the end of this initial recruitment campaign, we sat down with both parties to debrief on the process, working through any issues and focusing how we could improve things for next time.


Watermark were selected to assist the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) attract and select directors to form two inaugural Boards for new entities, one for NSWALC Housing Ltd and one for NSWALC Employment and Training Ltd.

The skill sets required for the two Boards were different and reflected their respective areas of business focus. In addition to the two different sets of skills there was a requirement that the Boards were gender diverse, geographically diverse, age diverse and had at least a majority of Board members who are proud of their Aboriginality.

Watermark used a combination of advertising, referrals from NSWALC and the Local Area Land Councils (LALCs) and Executive Search to provide the client with a rich and varied group of potential Directors for consideration, within a compressed timeframe. Given the geographically dispersed nature of the candidate pool we also offered the opportunity for potential Directors to respond to, and record answers to, a series of questions through a video platform.

Watermark partners joined the client through the interviewing process to provide additional insight and information when required. The NSWALC selection committee chose its preferred shortlist and Watermark undertook a series of probity checks on the client’s behalf. The Board members were then reviewed and approved by the NSWALC Councillors (the Board) and the individual Board Members were then invited to join their respective Board.

In addition to providing candidates for the NSWALC Councillors to review and approve we also created two half-day Board workshops as part of the induction of the new Board members. These workshops were in addition to NSWALC’s induction process and were focussed on creating a common understanding of governance, legal obligations, mechanisms of good governance and above all help start the process of the board working together as a cohesive unit.

Having approached over 100 potential candidates the search process yielded two Chairs and eleven additional Board Directors. It was completed within the client’s compressed deadlines and delivered on all the initial aims of having skills-based boards which were gender, age and geographically diverse and ended up with over 75% Aboriginal Board Members.


We were engaged late February 2020 to conduct the end-to-end recruitment for new board members to join the Suburban Land Agency (SLA) and City Renewal Authority (CRA). Both agencies sit within the ACT Government’s Environment, Planning and Sustainability Development Directorate, promoting sustainable living and resource use, planning and land use that contributes to the sustainable development of the ACT. The SLA sought experienced board practitioners with skills in affordable housing, community housing and public housing; in addition to experience in social and community building. CRA also sought experienced board practitioners with skills in three areas, urban renewal (particularly centre revitalisation), major development project delivery and finance and public sector governance. In addition to searching for candidates with these skills, we also sought a gender balance on our shortlist.

During this search the world landscape was shifting as COVID 19 took hold and our ways of conducting business adapted to ensure appropriate social distancing without compromising on the quality or integrity of our process. We had rigorously prepared the client, Panel Members and candidates to the then relatively new process of videoconferencing interviews, running tests to ensure the smooth running of the technology on their devices in their home and in some cases on the road. We had a tight timeframe in which to deliver to ensure the selection report was finalised on the 3rd April 2020 and then introduced for cabinet approval, and this deadline remained the same despite COVID 19.

We successfully completed the assignment, and the panel were able to appoint their required board members.


Our Board Partners

David Evans

David Evans

Managing Partner

Claire Crawford

Claire Crawford

Partner - Executive Search and Board

Daniel Nicholls

Daniel Nicholls

Partner - Executive Search

Jocelyn Santosa

Jocelyn Santosa

Partner - Executive Search and Board

Jennifer D'Arcy-Smith

Jennifer D'Arcy-Smith

Partner - Executive Search and Board

Let Watermark Search help find your organisation's next Board Member

​At Watermark, we believe that strong boards make for better organisations and improved business performance. In conducting searches, we do not simply look for ‘a name’ but rather search for candidates with the relevant skills to add real value to a board. We recognise the unique contribution that board members make to a specific business. Often, we are seeking individuals with a specific skillset that compliments those that already exist within a board. Those skills either fill a gap in the board’s current experience or are matched against a strategy or business direction yet to be executed. We are also looking for a specific culture fit given the need for a board to act as a cohesive unit; and diversity in all of its forms in order to prompt different thinking and immense potential for innovation and growth.

Contact Us

    Watermark's 2024 Board Diversity Index shows cultural diversity on ASX 300 Boards has stalled.

    91% of directors are from Anglo-Celtic backgrounds. Cultural diversity has stalled.


    Based on current trends, equal representation of men and women is still a few more years away (at least).

    19% of female directors hold 45% of female-occupied seats.


    In relation to directors' skills/ experience, an undergraduate degree is virtually a minimum standard.

    82% of directors are qualified with an undergraduate degree.

    We hope you use Watermark's 2024 Board Diversity Index to fine tune your organisation's diversity initiatives, to help ramp up efforts where they are needed, and to keep these imperative discussions high on the agenda in your boardroom.

    Download the 2024 Board Diversity Index here.

Our Track Record

Our track record ensures familiarity with the specific, and often sensitive, challenges involved in appointing Non-Executive Directors and Chairs with the right skill, personal and cultural fit. Our process and experience allow us to generate diverse shortlists and consistently find successful candidates who help boards perform at their peak. We are focused on ensuring our clients have a diverse range of candidates from which to make a selection. That range includes all components of diversity, not just gender. The research quite clearly shows that boards, and executive teams, comprised of a more diverse range of contributors perform better.

  • Watermark Search added tremendous value to our Board...They challenged us respectfully highlighting other areas we should consider, they were ambitious in who they approached and the calibre of individuals we could secure. Their go to market strategy was comprehensive and detailed. Ultimately we hired two exceptionally strong Directors through their process...We could not be happier with the service...We have no hesitation in recommending their services.

    Chairman, Sporting Peak Body
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Typical Assignment Timeline

  • Stage 1

    Assignment commencement and research
    • Initial consultation and confirmation of engagement

    • NED profile developed with the client

    • Candidates profiled by Watermark Search

    • Submission to client of a list of potential candidates to be reviewed

  • Stage 2

    Watermark assessment and shortlist
    • External candidates approached, evaluated and interviewed

    • Submission of findings to our client

    • Agreement on shortlist by Board

  • Stage 3

    Client assessment and recommendation
    • Shortlist interviews conducted

    • Reference checking and qualification verification of preferred candidates

    • Offers made and agreed to

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Useful Links

  • 01

    Springboard Series

    Download this series of articles which provides some practical tips from Chairs on how you might build your portfolio and the myths surrounding the building of a board portfolio.

  • 02

    The Australian Institute of Company Directors

    The main body that represents Company Directors in Australia. It provides high-quality training to Directors and aspiring Directors and has a wealth of information on its website.

  • 03

    The Governance Institute of Australia

    A source of useful information and is more geared towards Chartered Secretaries, governance advisors and risk managers. The Institute also has a range of training programs that are well regarded.

  • 04

    The ASX Corporate Governance Council

    Continually reviews and enhances corporate governance practices in Australia. The Council’s recommendations provide the benchmark against which listed entities measure their governance practices. If you want to check what principles a board should operate under…this is the place to do it.

  • 05

    The Australia Securities & Investment Commission

    Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator and provides a guide aimed at smaller businesses to help their directors comply with their legal obligations.

  • 06

    Board Resume

    Board resume example template for you to download and use.

  • Watermark Search added tremendous value to our Board...They challenged us respectfully highlighting other areas we should consider, they were ambitious in who they approached and the calibre of individuals we could secure. Their go to market strategy was comprehensive and detailed. Ultimately we hired two exceptionally strong Directors through their process...We could not be happier with the service...We have no hesitation in recommending their services.

    Chairman, Sporting Peak Body

Register Your Interest

If you would like to broaden your board portfolio, you are welcome to send your details to us using the button below. Your details will be treated in the strictest confidence and we will contact you should we have a board role that we see as a good fit with your skills and experience.