007: Shifting In The Face of Complexity As A Board Director with Kerryn Newton

Episode 07: Shifting face of Complexity as a Board Director with Kerryn Newton

Since before COVID, the face of complexity challenging Board Directors has shifted. 

Their operating environment is increasingly complex and dynamic. A big part of this is being driven by increased societal expectations of what boards do, how companies should operate, and their role in society. 

In this episode of the Thriving in Complexity podcast, Susanne talks to Kerryn Newton, the CEO of Directors Australia, a board performance specialist firm. Kerryn has over 25 years of experience working in different legal, management and commercial roles in both private and public settings. 

Kerryn shares her insights on the role of directors, the challenges they face, and how they can create value for their organizations. She also provides advice on how to build an effective board that can thrive in today’s complex business environment. 

Given her line of business, it is only fitting that Kerryn offers some tips on how you can get the most out of your board meetings. Listen to this episode to find out more. 


  • Kerryn’s story of wanting to be a pilot (01:15) 
  • The most common challenges boards are facing now (03:19) 
  • What is the board skills matrix? (06:29) 
  • The shift in the board’s role in strategy in recent years (10:51) 
  • All about Directors Australia (15:31) 
  • Common traps, that boards can fall into (17:07) 
  • Enabling constructive disagreement in the workplace (20:28) 
  • What does thriving in complexity mean to Kerryn (24:58) 
  • How to get people on board (29:08) 
  • One thing Kerryn wished she did differently (32:14) 
  • Kerryn’s advice to her 25-year-old self (35:55) 


“Perfect is good. Done is better.” -Kerryn Newton 

“Part of solving complex problems is knowing when it’s time to move on.” -Kerryn Newton 

“Every person is only a sum of their own experiences.” -Kerryn Newton 




Kerryn Newton is the CEO of Directors Australia, a board performance specialist firm. She has over 25 years of experience in the corporate sector, including time spent as a director on public and private company boards. 

Aside from that, Kerryn is a speaker on board and governance-related topics and is a regular media commentator as well. She also has Masters’s qualifications in Law, Business Administration and Arts, and is a Fellow (and accredited facilitator) of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.