In February the newly formed Trustee Diversity Panel published its inaugural Inspire List of over 60 inspirational trustees from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
As part of the #InspireList, we sat down with trustee, Ash Mohammed, Chair of Move On to find out her thoughts on being nominated as an inspirational trustee.
Submissions to the list are continuing to be accepted online, and the list will be refreshed quarterly, in order to continue building a broader picture of trustee racial and ethnic diversity.
How pleased you are to have been included on the list and what does it mean to you?
I was both humbled and very proud to be included on the list, I’ve worked in the 3rd sector and on board roles for some years now and you don’t do it for the glory, however we’re all human and it’s great to be recognised amongst some amazing individuals.
Why did you want to become a trustee?
I grew up in Yorkshire to immigrant parents and spent most of my childhood in poverty, I’ve been fortunate in my career and have always been involved to some degree in the charitable sector. I wanted to find a way of impacting a greater number of people and also apply the skills and experience I’ve gained throughout my career. So felt a board role would be the best place to do that, and that’s been proven right by the work I’ve done with Move On.
What do you think are the key barriers to becoming a trustee if you are from an under represented group?
I’m very active in this space at NatWest as it’s a topic very close to my heart, having been raised by immigrant parents in Bradford West Yorkshire in the 70s/80s. In my opinion there are a number of barriers; – role models; there’s a distinct absence of minority role models in the third sector board level roles – educational; lower social class and education is linked to ethnic minorities, there’s an assumption (rightly or wrongly), you need to have a law or finance degree to be a board member – Unconscious bias; if we acknowledge most boards are made up of white middle aged men, then we should also acknowledge those biases will play a part in recruiting new board members.
Why you think the #InspireList matters?
I think it matters for 2 important reasons. Firstly its great to recognise amazing individuals who give up their time willingly to help those less fortunate. Secondly, diversity in the 3rd sector on boards is sadly lacking. I recall when I began looking for board roles I couldn’t see any role models that looked like me or with my background. The inspire list profiles individuals of all diversities and therefore creating a platform to inspire the next generation of board members.
What do you think needs to be done to encourage more people to become trustees?
Create role models who are passionate about making a change and then make them visible. Actively encouraging others from minority groups – create some inclusion minimums(targets) for boards – use existing employee led networks to promote new roles. Consider the language and barriers inherent in role descriptions.