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‘One woman on the board is a token, two is a minority – three means you are really getting there.'
This informative Insight session featuring #ALLMECREW Shruti Jain (she/her), Organisational Lead for Inclusion Health at Public Health Scotland, helps us understand the differences between charities and charitable companies in the U.K.
Understanding the different charity roles
First, a charity trustee sits under charity legislation. The trustee has strategic responsibility for running the charity. Trustees can also work for charitable companies.
Next, there are directors. The 'Director' term originates from the corporate world, however, from a charity sector perspective, may mean one of two things:
- Company director of a charity that is structured as a company (charitable company).
- Senior employee of the charity, but the charity not actually a company.
Executive vs non-executive directors:
Executive Directors are employed full-time with the company and engage in day-to-day operations, whereas non-executive directors only sit on the board. Non-executive directors are high-level independent voices who do not engage in day-to-day operations of the organisation.
Why all of these roles are significant
Whether you’re a trustee, non-executive director, or other position, you have a great impact on the people and environments around you:
- Trustees are ‘guardians of purpose’ who ensure the charity is benefitting the public and carrying out their mission properly and effectively.
- Non-executive directors, despite not engaging in the day-to-day, creatively contribute to proper company operations, business matters and the economy-at-large.
Shruti’s tips for readying yourself for new roles
You’re never too young to apply for a new role or change industries!
No matter our path, Shruti advises us to be a strategic-thinkers, not just doers. This means having big-picture vision, which in-turn leads to sharper and more seamless decision-making. Also, consider your lived experiences and network – the people you know – as both of these pieces are essential for more effectively taking the next leap of faith.
Shruti also reminds us that previous governance and leadership experience are also great assets to have in your toolbox!
You can find your footing by considering two-way fit: join companies and boards you’re actually passionate about, that do great work. An organisation you enjoy working for fosters an environment that suits your needs and makes your desired success possible.
There are many different areas to look: NHS, Women on Boards U.K., CharityJob U.K. and additional corporate and public bodies to name a few. There are also plenty of benefits to be gained with each unique path, from leadership and career development to giving to a cause and building your credibility and CV. Find what fits you!
In closing: always be mindful!
Applying the proactive approaches described in this session are necessary for us to thrive. Having your voice heard will often depend on the organization you’re working or volunteering for. Be mindful and strategic in your approach, and you will succeed no matter what path you decide to take!
Shruti Jain (she/her) is an award-winning public health practitioner and leads inclusion and equity for Public Health Scotland. Shruti has held numerous non-executive director and trustee roles across different sectors.
A Leader Like Me is an empowered community that supports underrepresented people to build courage and confidence in their work so they can continue to thrive. Our Nest Community is a safe and supportive environment for women* of colour. It includes monthly Insight Sessions to provide information and inspiration while our monthly Group Coaching creates a needed space for members to share their challenges and opportunities, failures and success authentically with leaders like them who share their workplace experience.
For more about us, visit: https://aleaderlikeme.com/
*We welcome non-binary and transgender people of colour who can relate to and benefit from the women-of-colour experience.