How Claudia Fan Munce prepares for board meetings.

Author:Hall, April
Position:Survival Guide
 
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Claudia Fan Munce

Director, Best Buy, CoreLogic, Bank of the West/BNP Paribas

Claudia Fan Munce approaches her job in the boardroom with a startup mentality.

"I live day-in and day-out in the startup community," says Munce, who is an adviser for New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm focused on technology and healthcare investments.

She joined New Enterprise in 2016 after 30 years with IBM Corp. Supporting innovative entrepreneurship has been a passion of hers, so much so that she founded the Venture Capital Group within IBM when she was with the firm. Meeting with startups every day in her work at New Enterprise is a much different culture than working at IBM with their agility to pivot and address challenges. She uses them as examples for the public boards on which she sits.

"I'm always looking at what new ideas are being developed that can be relevant to the business model today," she explains, and studying disruptive forces is a big area she focuses on in her research before every board meeting.

One key source she uses to stay abreast of disruptive trends and startup news is a newsletter put out by CB Insights, a big-data software company that tries to predict the next big tech trends. The newsletter tracks movements in startups and venture capital.

For example, she continues to monitor is the use of robotics and artificial intelligence, particularly in logistics, warehousing and inventory management. Companies, including Best Buy, are already using robotics in warehouses, and at some point robots are going to be ubiquitous leading to great efficiencies in the distribution process. "It's a 'beam me up Scotty' reality," she quips.

By finding universal disruptive issues and seeing how lean startups are handling them, Munce says she can offer suggestions to the public companies on what competitors may be doing and new paths managers may want to take. She believes the research she does and her experience working with small, young companies, gives her fresh eyes.

"I think there is tremendous value in my closeness to younger...

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