Network and improve with IoD Advance

Table, camera, laptop and paper. sing the IoD Advance app, members can book events – such as those at the IoD

It’s the biggest shake-up to the IoD’s membership offer in 40 years. And following a successful trial earlier this year, IoD Advance is undergoing a major expansion this month

IoD Advance is the institute’s most innovative membership offer in decades. After consultations with members and non-members alike, this exciting initiative has been designed with the services most valued by business leaders at the forefront.

By signing up to IoD Advance, members receive the key benefits of a standard IoD membership, but also myriad exclusive extras which focus on promoting peer-to-peer networking and propelling delegates’ professional development to the next level.

After being introduced to a select group of new and existing members in London in March, and having undergone adjustments and improvements following feedback, IoD Advance is now expanding to encompass northern and southern England, increasing its membership to 1,500.

“IoD Advance is about constant member input into developing a product that really works,” says Rachel Binks, member engagement manager at the IoD. “It’s a community, and this process has been a two-way conversation between the IoD and its members.”

Here are just a few benefits of IoD Advance membership…

A cutting-edge app

The IoD Advance app is a digital platform where members can browse and book events, access daily business news and updates, privately message contacts and liaise with a dedicated personal relationship manager.

Suzanna McGloin, the IoD’s head of marketing, says that the app is central to how IoD Advance members can manage and get the most out of their membership. “The app allows members to connect and share knowledge and ideas, and facilitates introductions across geographical boundaries, making it highly valuable – it emphasises the community feel of the membership.”

Through the app’s direct messaging functionality, members can also access an expert panel which includes Simon Walker, the IoD’s director general, and Allie Renison, head of Europe and trade policy at the IoD, who will be on hand to offer advice.

Enhanced networking and connectivity

In response to the emphasis directors placed on peer-to-peer networking during consultations, IoD Advance uses traditional as well as highly sophisticated methods of encouraging members to network and meet like-minded businesspeople who can develop their career and skills. A particularly well-received aspect of the initiative during the pilot scheme was the ability to network and connect with fellow leaders through the app’s social networking-style interface and its innovative peer-matching functionality.

“Just going into a room filled with businesspeople can be daunting, so the app collects data on your business and your ambitions, and the kinds of people you’re interested in meeting, using that information to match you with people you will be compatible with” says McGloin. This aspect of IoD Advance earned well-publicised comparisons with dating sites – the Financial Times dubbed the scheme “a Tinder for business” – but it nevertheless serves as an invaluable tool to encourage members to connect with one another.

So far, all IoD Advance members have been introduced to at least six relevant members by the Advance team. On average, members have 18 connections, demonstrating the effectiveness of the initiative to facilitate peer-level conversations about business challenges. Says Binks: “It’s very much a give-and-get culture, so it’s an opportunity for members to get to know each other and share their knowledge.”

Professional development and exclusive events

IoD Advance members can choose four of six bite-sized Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshops to attend each year at no extra cost. From courses on becoming a non-executive director to an introduction to risk governance for directors, delegates can progress their careers and business without having to pay extra for expertise.

Member-led events and workshops are also an attractive element of IoD Advance membership. “We have Circle events where a group of members work through a particular problem – the implications of Brexit, for example – and we then share the outcomes of those sessions with the wider community in the form of an information pack,” says McGloin. Members can also lead Insight sessions, which take the form of a TED talk-style lecture that enables members to share expertise and knowledge with fellow IoD Advance affiliates.

An event at the IoD

Digital meetings

As IoD Advance expands to our North East, North West and Yorkshire regions and opens its doors to 500 new and existing members, delegates will be given tools to improve their connectivity and networking capabilities, says Binks. “Transport and connectivity can be big challenges for businesses in the north, making it hard for directors from key commercial centres such as Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield to meet to network frequently. What IoD Advance does is provide a digital platform for directors to meet and connect without necessarily needing to be in the same room.”

IoD Advance will also expand its membership in the IoD London and South regions, bringing the total membership up to 1,500 from the initial 354 founding members. “We aim to take on 60 per cent new members and the remaining 40 per cent will be existing members who transfer to IoD Advance,” explains McGloin.

To celebrate the expansion, the IoD will be hosting launch events in the North and South regions.

IoD Advance

To find out about the benefits of this membership offer and to register your interest, visit 

About author

Hannah Gresty

Hannah Gresty

Until she left the magazine in August 2019, Hannah Gresty was the assistant editor of Director. She previously worked on a local news website and at a fashion PR company before joining the Director team as editorial assistant in 2016.

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