By Lesley Davies, CIB trustee
How it started for me
We’re all busy, and it’s rare to stop, or even pause, long enough to do a mental stock-take of life. I had this chance earlier in 2017 when I left my role as a People Director in a busy telecoms’ company. Instead of throwing all my energy into another paid position, I stopped to consider some of the things that I could do that might bring me deeper fulfillment.
Of course, on the list there was spending more quality time with my husband and family, the chance to care for my mum who has Alzheimer’s, and learning a new skill – which for me was swimming lessons. But I also had a strong desire to be more involved in my local community, and to use what talent I had for the good of others. Food for the soul!
Where could I make a valuable contribution?
But that was just the beginning – what was right for me? Where could I offer a valuable contribution? The web was my “go-to” place, and lady luck was shining as I quickly found an event for potential Trustees where I could find out more. I met a number of charities and community groups at Community Impact Buck’s (CIB’s) 2017 Trustee Fair. I was truly enthused, impressed and inspired by the number of people from all walks of life who were taking action to make lives better in their communities. Through conversation, I learnt how each charity needed and valued their Trustees, and gained clarification about the types of skills that would help them at their stage of development. I left the event with a shortlist, and a firm resolve!
Meet and Match
I started to really think both about what I could give as a Trustee … but also what I would get in return.
I did a mental list.
It was important to use my attitude, skills, experience, and to feel some satisfaction from doing this.
Teamwork is important to me, and after 25+ years of working in great teams, I liked the idea of joining another team who were passionate and committed.
I was planning to take a year out of work, but I knew that I would need mental stimulation, a challenge, and some level of responsibility.
I also wanted to continue learning, particularly about the voluntary and community sector, after years of the corporate world.
For me, joining the CIB Board seemed to be the right fit.
The Experience So Far
It is still early days for me as a Trustee at CIB; after several months of being “co-opted” onto the Board, I was formally appointed at the AGM last month.
I joined just as the team was bidding for funding for the next 2 years. It was an extremely busy period for CIB, and there was an anxious wait for the outcome…which was successful! In many ways, it was a great introduction to the organisation, and it certainly made me very aware of the value of my fellow Trustees, who gave outstanding expertise and support in this critical process.
There have been recent changes to the Trustee Board, with the appointment of a new Chair, Mimi Harker OBE, and a number of Trustees reaching the end of their terms. There are definitely some “big shoes to fill”, but I am enjoying the developing sense of teamwork within our Trustee Board.
I weighed up the time commitment required when I joined as a Trustee – would I have room in a busy life? As with anything important, you make time, and I find that the rewards of learning new things, stretching myself, and supporting others, more than compensates for the time invested.
My advice to anyone else asking themselves the question ….to be or not to be a Trustee? I would say just take the first step, and you will soon find that there are plenty of resources (for example from Reach Volunteering, a CIB partner) to help you work out if it is the right role for you – and the right time for you.
For me, I am so glad I took the plunge, and I am looking forward to being actively involved during my 3 year term.
Good luck with your trustee search!