Rewarding good governance

It was my very great pleasure and honour once again to present an award at the Charity Governance Awards on Wednesday, 24th May. The event was held in the imposing and beautiful Clothworkers Hall in the City. This year, my fellow judges and I judged one category: Managing Turnaround. The level of dedication and commitment of the Trustees in each of the entries was quite phenomenal. The winner was Off The Record from Bristol, a mental health service and movement for children and young people aged 11-25 who live in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.  You can read the story of their turnaround here.

Masterclass: Exec / Non-Exec relationships in the Third Sector

 

I was delighted recently to lead a governance masterclass at the three-day AMEX Leadership Academy hosted by Common Purpose.common-purpose-logo

Held at the wonderfully welcoming Wallacespace in London, the one hour masterclass session was informal and interactive. It provided an opportunity for future leaders in the Third Sector to come together and focus on governance, and in particular how to address the divide between Executive and Non-Executive board members.

All-in-all, a dynamic session which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Judging the Inaugural Charity Governance Awards

Charity Governance Award

I was delighted to present the “Board Diversity and Inclusion Award” at the Charity Governance Awards ceremony on the 12 May 2016 to Leap Confronting Conflict, a charity that works with young people to manage conflict and to reduce violence in communities.

 

This inaugural award recognises excellent governance and true commitment to diversity. Nominees were judged on their efforts to attract a broad range of trustees and then support trustees to participate fully, along with a broader culture which welcomes different opinions. The well-deserved winner, Leap, is led by young people’s passion and insight, and has high standards of governance and board scrutiny.

 

Hosted by The Clothworkers’ Company in partnership with New Philanthropy Capital, Prospectus and Reach, the event was held in the City of London’s lovely historic Clothworkers’ Hall. It opened with a thought provoking keynote speech by BBC broadcaster and journalist, Edward Stourton.

 

A great evening and wonderful opportunity to shine a spotlight on challenging diversity issues within the Charity sector

A Fresh Prespective for the Board

British Lung Foundation logo On Tuesday 24th November I was invited to speak to the Board of the British Lung Foundation, a charity that funds vital research to save and improve the lives of people with lung disease.

At their ‘away day’ in London, we spoke about the importance of good governance and the vital role they have as trustees in upholding the organisation’s vision and embedding good governance across the organisation.

As an objective outsider I enjoy adding a fresh perspective and giving insight into different approaches that organisations can take to model their values, enhance their performance and deliver the mission.

 

The Chair and Chief Executive’s Relationship… Getting it Right

Trustees Week

On the 2 November 2015 I was delighted to speak at a panel discussion at this year’s NCVO Trustee Conference in London – the launch event for  Trustees Week. The focus of the discussion was the relationship between the Chair and Chief Executive; an important relationship that can make or break the effective governance of a charity.

 

I shared the platform with three other fascinating speakers, Simon Morris, CEO of Jewish Care, and Nicola Grinstead and Anita Tiessen, Chair and CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.  We spoke about our experiences of building productive relationships between Chair and Chief Executive – the ups and downs of managing the personal and organisational interface.

 

It was a lively session with insightful audience questions, expertly facilitated by Sue Pearlman, NCVO governance consultant and chair of Community Action Hertsmere.

 

 

It’s Good to Talk …Social Investment

Social InvestmentOn Tuesday 9th June I took part in an informative Round Table hosted by Big Society Capital in Fleet Street, London.

 

The topic for discussion was social investment and it offered a couple of very interesting case studies of non profits that had used social investment to generate growth.  It was a useful reminder for me of the effectiveness of the variety of social investment instruments, as we discovered at Scope during my Chairmanship, where we used loan finance, venture philanthropy and a Social Bond to serve our mission.

 

The different ways that non profits use social finance to deliver their goals and increase their impact was particularly inspiring – and that was one of the key themes coming out of the morning: focus on impact to get the best out of it.  For me, the role of the Chair is key.  Chairs need to keep their Boards focussed on the organisation’s vision and mission to ensure that risk is minimised and return maximised.

 

Transformational Journey Reflections

I was delighted to share my experiences of studying for the Cranfield DBA at a recent Transformational Journey Webinar for prospective students.

 

Putting together the presentation was a useful exercise in reminding me how the experience enriched my life. It certainly wasn’t easy: I sometimes found it tricky championing an unpopular topic in a sector that can be conservative around diversity issues. Throw the four-year part-time schedule into the mix and it was even more of a challenge!  In hindsight, however, I can appreciate how it all helped me to develop my potential professionally and personally.

 

The discipline and process required to complete on schedule made me a more critical thinker, better able to challenge the status quo and, importantly in my current role as a NED, deal successfully with ambiguity and change within organisations.

 

It was also a pleasure to catch up with my supervisor Dr John Towriss and reflect on the impact my research made.

Sharing Experiences at the Annual Trustee Exchange

On the 21 April I was honoured to be asked to share my experiences as Chair of Scope at Civil Society Media’s eighth annual Trustee  Exchange at America Square Conference Centre in London.  My keynote speech charted the ups and downs of steering governance through a period of rapid change post 2008.

 

No matter how turbulent the internal or external environment, a Chair needs to ensure the Keynote Speakerorganisation is fulfilling its purpose and serving all its beneficiaries.  I believe that during uncertain times and rapid change it is even more important for the Board to hang onto the organisation’s Vision, Mission and Values – and a key role for the incumbent Chair is to support the Board to hold its nerve in the midst of ambiguity and uncertainty in order to deliver the Mission, in accordance with the Values, eyes focused firmly on the Vision.

 

However, the challenge for the outgoing Chair, who no longer has any influence or standing (and rightly so), is to trust the Board will continue doing just that, regardless of its changing circumstances.

Rethinking an inclusive approach

Revitalise LogoOn the 24 March I was delighted to be able to facilitate a Board Strategy session for Revitalise. Revitalise is an established national charity that provides short breaks and holidays for disabled people and carers.

The board session was lively and provided a useful opportunity for board members to discuss and think through what makes for an inclusive Revitalise offering; what does inclusion really mean in the context of their vision, mission and values?

For me, it was rewarding seeing board members enthusiastically sharing ideas about how they could deliver more inclusive services in order to enhance the great work Revitalise does. I’m looking forward to hearing how their thinking develops in future.

 

Inspirational Stories of Governance

Inspirational Stories Panel Discussion

Trustees Week, celebrating the role of trustees and championing best practice in governance, was officially launched at the annual NCVO / BWB Trustee Conference at The Brewery in London on the 10 November.

I was delighted to be a part of the afternoon keynote panel addressing ‘Inspirational Stories of Governance’.

I was struck by the title and drawn to consider why governance is inspiring.  Excellence in governance may help us preserve the past – an organisation considered a ‘national treasure’ for instance – and it may help us to serve our beneficiaries well in the present.  But in the end, for me, it has to be because it can help us create a better future.

As I said on the day, it may sound grandiose but a better future for the human race is what I’m in it for.  And listening to the others on the panel and to audience members, I certainly found their stories inspiring!