Highly Recommended…

I had the pleasure of enjoying a celebratory weekend in London recently where I got to enjoy a double cultural treat. Firstly, the National Theatre’s award-winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in the West End. Wow – I can highly recommend this entertaining winner of 7 Olivier Awards and 5 Tony Awards® including ‘Best Play’ – it gripped me the whole way through.

Then secondly, I also got to see the new Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake. An excellent film of our time that will stay with you. It’s a moving, sometimes funny film that is a painfully realistic representation of welfare bureaucracy at its worst: failing to listen and thereby disadvantaging further those who rely on it in times of hardship. Well worth watching…

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 Night to Remember… CBE Celebration

Dr Alice Maynard CBEThank you to all those that joined me this week to celebrate, rather belatedly, my CBE at the Foundling Museum in Coram’s Fields, London.

 

I had a wonderful time and the evening served to remind me how privileged I am to have such an amazing collection of interesting friends, colleagues and supporters. It gave me a real buzz looking around the room and seeing everybody enjoying lively conversations, renewing old acquaintances and making new ones. So thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to share a bit of mine, I am grateful.

 

Lastly thank you to the Foundling Museum with its fascinating heritage and warm welcome for providing the perfect backdrop for the party and to Lime Events for the excellent catering service.

 

For me, it was definitely a night to remember.

 

The Silly Season

 

Oh dear it’s that time of the year again…the summer lull when there is a dearth of news about so the press takes to criticising charities. Last year Chief Executives’ pay came under assault and this year it seems the focus is on charity fundraising.

The Daily Mail recently published a personal attack on the lifestyles of four Fundraising Directors that was uncalled for. The real disappointment for me, however, was that the organisations involved did not step up in response to support their staff and their practices.  I would have liked to see a comment or two from their Chairs, perhaps outlining the impact a good Fundraising Director has on the ability of the charity to serve its beneficiaries well and the ratio of donated funds to the cost of generating these funds.  Most charities do not need to be defensive – but we often appear so by not responding proactively.  So come on Chairs and Boards: be proud of what you do and tell the world!

Once in a Lifetime Experience…

Collecting CBE

On Tuesday the 19 May 2015 I had the honour of receiving my CBE from Prince William at Windsor Castle. It was a wonderful experience, made even more special by the staff whose genuine warmth and kindness was tremendous. And the mini tour of the Staterooms was an added bonus.

 

The response to my CBE has been overwhelming and I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to colleagues, friends and family. You made it possible for me through your unswerving support – so thank you very much!

 

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.

Celebrating 100 Leading Ladies

Leading LadiesI attended a wonderfully affirming event last week in London listening to award-winning international photographer Nancy Honey speaking about her book ‘100 Leading Ladies’.

 

The book is co-authored by Nancy and former Times journalist Hattie Garlick and is a celebration of 100 senior influential women in Britain today.  It promotes diversity and recognises achievements across a range of sectors and specialisms. Importantly it helps transform the perception of what is possible for women to achieve.

 

We often hear about the ongoing inequality that women experience so it’s especially encouraging when events like this one, jointly hosted by the IOD and IWF, celebrate success. And around International Woman’s Day it was a great way for women to come together to show support for each other – with a few men too!

Disabled Role Models in the Public Sector

The List Influence

With the recent publication by the Disability News Service of The List identifying the UK’s most influential disabled people in 10 categories, I was privileged to see my name on the 2014 Public Service top 10 influencers list.

 

It got me thinking that, whilst the list is impressive, I can easily name another 10 impressive disabled people who are making an impact on public life but are not necessarily as well known or as ‘noticed’. I wondered if part of the problem was visibility – lots of disabled people are doing interesting things and making a difference across society through their work in public service, but that work goes largely unsung.

 

So while it may be true that there are not enough disabled role models in society, perhaps that’s because we don’t look hard enough – and because people find it difficult to think of themselves as ‘role models’. It would be great to see a whole host of other names on the list next year!