How to Balance the Roles of Chair and CEO

AOC logo

 

On 20th September, along with the Chair of Community Action:MK Sheila Thornton, I was delighted to present at a joint event in Milton Keynes. This Association of Chairs (AoC) and CA:MK event was sponsored by Grant Thornton and hosted in a large and airy meeting room at Spinal Injuries Association HQ.

Entitled ‘A Quality Double Act’ the focus of the evening was to better understand the differences in the roles of the Chair and the CEO, and importantly how to achieve a balance between the two. We also explored the key challenges organisations are facing at the moment.

This event provided a great opportunity for local Chairs and Vice-chairs as well as executive staff of non-profit organisations to learn more of the work of the AoC, the resources they provide to support Chairs, and the resources available locally to non-profits. Click here to find out more about the AOC.

 

Does the Not for Profit Sector Need Disrupting?

NFP Interchange 2016

At the last NFP Interchange debate in London the consensus was that yes, the sector certainly benefits from disruption. There were calls for charitable organisations to take the initiative and shake up on their own accord, or risk being shaken by outside forces.

 

The most recent of these thought provoking discussions brought together a diverse panel of experts to speak about disruption and change in their organisations as part ofGrant Thornton’s NFP Interchange programme.

 

Leon Ward, trustee at sexual health charity Brook, expressed the view that to create an agile organisation better able respond to disruption required ‘diverse voices’ to challenge the status quo on a board.  Having a range of ages and backgrounds represented as trustees enables freer thinking, disrupting accepted norms.

 

If the charity sector does not embrace change then the “shape of the playing field will be changed around us” said Paul Boissier, chief executive of the RNLI, who drew on Darwin to highlight his point, saying: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent but it’s the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Mentoring Triple Bronze Medallist Paralympic Swimmer

MenteeIt has been a busy few months with a lot happening! One new endeavour that stands out, however, is my first face-to-face meeting with my new mentee, Susie Rodgers. Susie is an multi-award winning athlete who won triple bronze for the GB paralympic swimming team at London 2012 and is looking to develop her career in the nonprofit sector.

 

As a member of the International Woman’s Forum, I am proud to be mentoring Susie as part of EY’s Women Athletes Business Network 2016 mentoring programme. This programme helps elite athletes transition from a career in sport to other professional careers.

 

I look forward to offering Susie support and guidance over the coming year to help her reach her goals.

New Chair Role for Swanswell

swanswell

Last month I was delighted to be appointed as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees at Swanswell, a national charity that aims to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use.

 

I look forward to helping the Board of Trustees shape their strategy. Swanswell is a vibrant organisation that has exciting plans for the future. It is a real honour for me to have this opportunity to work with them to develop those plans and to bring them to fruition.

 

Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘I’m pleased to welcome Alice Maynard to Swanswell as our new Chair. Alice brings a wealth of experience to the table which I know will help us achieve our aim of a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse.’

 

To find out more about Swansell’s work click here.

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.

 

Competition for Charities & Not for Profits at the NFP Interchange: Gold or Silver?

NFP InterchangeIt was a great privilege to speak at last week’s NFP Interchange event with fellow panellists’ Roger Harrop, Sir Tom Shebbeare and Moonpig founder, Nick Jenkins. We enjoyed hearing each others’ views on how to succeed in the not for profit sector.

We were in agreement that a win-lose approach was not the most effective. My own recipe for success involves underpinned a clear vision, a strong team and disciplined passion – passion underpinned by strategy. The session rounded off with some incisive questions from the audience.

Thank you to our hosts Grant Thornton UK and their partners, the Guardian, and to Carol Rudge who ably steered the lively debate.

 

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!