Utah Business

2024 Outstanding Directors

Ryan Sanders | 2024 Outstanding Directors

2024 Outstanding Directors
Photo by Jon Hague Photos

Venture Capital

Managing Director | Mercato Partners |

Currently a board member for:

Stance, ObservePoint, Lendio, Atomic, Lambda Labs

What are the most important assets an individual can bring to a board? 

Informed experience enables the board to provide valuable insights and guidance, make decisions, and effectively oversee the management team. This is particularly crucial in rapidly evolving industries where strategic agility and informed decision-making can significantly impact the organization’s success. A fresh perspective can challenge assumptions, stimulate critical discussions, and contribute to more creative and effective strategic planning. Diversity in perspective enhances the board’s ability to navigate complex issues, anticipate challenges and seize opportunities in a dynamic business environment.

What should companies look for in a board member to ensure a great cultural fit?

Identify candidates who understand and demonstrate a commitment to your core values. This alignment ensures that decisions and actions taken at the board level will be congruent with the company’s ethos and long-term vision. Cultural fit isn’t about finding “yes directors.” It’s about having a board that challenges the status quo, holds strong but respectful debates, and ultimately helps the CEO make the best decisions for the company’s long-term success.

What do you know now that you wish you better understood when you took your first board seat?

Welcome the new. Seek wisdom. Cultivate trust. Supporting and enabling entrepreneurship can be magic. Embrace the journey with humility and curiosity. Understand that the role of a board director is as much about listening and learning as it is about speaking and leading. 

What is the best advice you can give someone serving as a director for the first time? 

Be an active, curious learner. New directors don’t need to come in with all the answers. Great directors are masters of understanding motivation and intention. Asking insightful questions demonstrates a desire to learn and helps you grasp the company’s nuances. A willingness to ask questions and seek out information aids understanding and demonstrates engagement and commitment to your role.

Savannah Beth Withers Taylor is the assistant editor of Utah Business and a graduate of the editing and publishing program at Brigham Young University. Beth has written content about travel, academics, and mental health for Stowaway magazine, BYU College of Humanities and United Way. She enjoys traveling, reading, eating, and mercilessly defeating loved ones in anything competitive.