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, Iana Vidal , Chair of the Girls Friendly Society 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?
It’s a real honour to be featured on the Inspire List alongside some truly amazing individuals doing wonderful things in their charities. It has been a great privilege to serve as Chair of Girls Friendly Society over the last few years, and this recognition is not just for me but for all involved in our organisation who promote inclusion, equality and fairness.
Why did you want to become a trustee?
I wanted to become a trustee to give something back to my community, and use my skills to provide strategic support and guidance. I care very deeply about tackling inequalities in our society and the work of Girls Friendly Society is so important to that. What I did not expect – and has been such a pleasant surprise – is to make such wonderful friends along the way. At every level GFS is driven by inspiring women and girls who support and champion each other. That’s what sisterhood is all about.
What do you think are the key barriers to becoming a trustee if you are from an under represented group?
Trustees are commonly called David or Peter, are middle aged or retired and white. Iana is not any of these and leads by example of why younger, black women should have the opportunities to lead. Key barriers will be self belief, lack of role models, lack of examples such as Iana, time, closed minds of recruitment panels, trustee boards stuck in their ways and lacking imagination.
* Written by CEO of GFS Laura Sercombe who nominated Iana.
Why you think the #InspireList matters?
The Inspire List matters because the make up of charity boards still doesn’t reflect the communities that charities operate in. From large to small charities, boards lack diverse thinking and perspectives and this needs to change. As well as highlighting the value that trustees from all walks of life can bring to a board, I hope the list also inspires others who are traditionally underrepresented to put themselves forward for roles. Your charity needs you!
What do you think needs to be done to encourage more people to become trustees?
It would be wonderful if employers could all adopt the CSR approach where individuals are granted a number of hours to be able to invest in a charity of their choice and give back – lack of time is often a challenge in a busy career. There needs to be some positive role models like Iana who are well publicised case studies to be able to talk about what they have achieved and why their experience is not unique – there are many others waiting for the opportunity.