Written by Bronte Lynch & Gemma Early

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Certified Chairs™ Drew Horsell and Sean Steele recently spoke to the Advisory Board Centre‘s CEO and founder Louise Broekman about their advisory board journey. Drew is the founder and director of professional services business Horsell, which assists contractors to make better procurement decisions for the defence sector. Sean has spent his professional career building education businesses and in doing so has worn many hats (executive, CEO, director, Chair). Last year, Sean became Chair of Horsell’s advisory board after the company made a promise they were going to change for the better.

Finding himself reluctant to loosen control of the business he had created, Drew recognised he needed to start exploring more opportunities to be able to scale and grow for the best of his shareholders; so he contacted the Advisor Concierge. When reflecting on setting up his own advisory board for his business Drew remarked, “Ultimately I can look back at it now and think it was probably the best thing I’ve ever done in the company. I’m one of these people that says, why didn’t I do this in year two, three or ten? Why did I wait till year thirteen, fourteen?!”

Playback this webinar by clicking on the video below. Subtitles are available.


Businesses will generally start an advisory board at a make-or-break point, especially if they are asking, “what is our focus?” or “what’s next?” For Drew, it was when he felt like he had reached his maximum capacity in the business. He needed someone to help him generate ideas, encourage him to think differently, and challenge him on certain issues, whilst providing support where required without taking over the decision-making function in his business.

The Advisory Board Centre has found that there are certain revenue points ($1.5M in turnover to $100M) where businesses establish an advisory board to focus on their “what’s next?” To understand more about the power of an advisory board at the right time for your business, here are some fundamental articles:


The advisory board sector is unregulated and therefore it can get tricky because there are many ways they can operate. The Advisory Board Centre’s best practice framework, the ABF101™, focuses on the ethical principles of an advisory board, specifically:

  • Obtaining clarity of scope
  • Identifying the structuring disciplines
  • Measurement of success
  • Independence of the chair and advisors
  • Ensuring the chair and advisors are fit-for-purpose

Whether you’re starting an advisory board for the first time or looking for new expertise on your existing board, our Advisor Concierge can help you. This is an independent, global, and complimentary service offered to businesses, executives and boards to identify their current situation and scope out if improvements could be made with advisor engagement. In the past few years, this service has supported more than 900 organisations.

The Advisor Concierge evaluates business priorities for the next 18 months, identifies the appropriate structure, and helps navigate the process to engage an independent Certified Chair™ and advisors.

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