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.
What do you think are the key barriers to becoming a trustee if you are from an under represented group?
There are a number of barriers and these include:
– Charities being unable to reflect the diverse communities they serve and therefore not being relevant to people looking to volunteer their time and expertise as a trustee.
– Current charity boards seeing potential BAME trustees as adding to their ‘equalities’ or ticking the ‘diversity box’. My experience has been that not only is this off-putting, it is immediately builds a barrier between both parties. This pigeon-holing also restricts boards from looking at the wide array of experiences that people from BAME communities bring. (I have experienced this a number of times).
– Charities being unable to express or highlight the experiences of BAME beneficiaries which may draw in a wider interest from different community groups.
– Charities ‘speaking to communities’ and not listening and reflecting on the changing social environments around us. For example, after the Black Lives Matter campaigns, I experienced charities falling over themselves to suddenly ‘want to expand their boards’. This shows a fundamental failing and weakness in the board structure and make up – and my question would be – why was this not identified before and it took a global movement to potentially embarrass them into action?
What do you think needs to be done to encourage more people to become trustees?
Charities and boards need to:
– Possibly take a ‘blind’ approach to applications to be on boards, This means looking at the application without any markers on the ethnicity or identities of the applicant.
– Use all communication sources to reflect wider communities that make up our country.
– Widen engagement with communities, listen to them and talk about opportunities open for applicants.
– Review policies to ensure that equalities are mainstreamed in the language, pictures and practices in the charity, including statements which inspire a vision to defend, widen and support pluralism.
– Frame the opportunities in ways that build on the strengths that younger people can bring. My experience has been that trustee roles have been rolled out in a formal, sometimes unexciting and bland manner. This takes out the heart and soul of charities that INSPIRE people to apply. So charities need to adapt to sell their vision in relevant ways.
What does being on the Inspire list mean to you?
This is an exciting opportunity to give more back to communities and to people. Right now, we need to give back to people and ensuring that they have the best opportunity to have accessible services and life opportunities.
Why did you want to become a trustee?
Because good governance matters and it is fundamental to good service delivery and in maintaining the dignity, integrity and well-being of people and communities.
Why do you think the Inspire List matters?
The Inspire List matters since some organisations have difficulty reaching out & ensuring that their boards represent wider society. This needs to change & the list gives them greater accessibility to ensure change at senior levels.