To kick start 2017, Trustees Unlimited and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), have announced that the 100th trustee has been appointed through ‘Step on Board’, their board-level trustee development programme, a figure they say highlights the growth in the number of companies encouraging their employees to become trustees.
First launched in November 2014, Step on Board connects professional people with charities and organisations with a social or environmental mission that need their professional skills.
The programme offers companies a fresh approach to leadership development, enabling senior talent to gain new skills and experience through serving on a charity board and at the same time contribute to society.
Adobe Systems is the latest company to adopt the programme, joining Barclays, Google, PA Consulting, leading law firm Mishcon de Reya, Credit Suisse and others. There are also small pilot schemes running with British Airways and Interserve, with several other leading companies expected to join later this year.
Ian Joseph, Chief Executive at Trustees Unlimited and Managing Director of Russam GMS says, “We’ve reached an important landmark in the Step on Board initiative with our 100th client securing a trustee role. They say that from little acorns great trees grow; from a small pilot at Barclays a couple of years ago we are now running a programme which is being embraced by some of the UK’s leading blue-chip firms.”
“Step on Board offers huge benefits for businesses and charities. For businesses, the payback can be enormous – employees can really broaden their horizons and networks and gain new skills and experience that can enhance their career.”
“For charities under increasing pressure to deliver more with less in an environment of greater public and media scrutiny and regulation, appointing ‘board ready’ trustees with professional skills can improve their governance and boost their growth.”
One charity to have benefited from recruiting a trustee through Step on Board is The Microloan Foundation, a charity that helps women in sub-Saharan Africa break the cycle of poverty by providing loans, training and support to help them set up their own business.
The charity was looking for a trustee with strong media skills to help promote the charity’s message and raise its profile. They selected media lawyer Dina Shiloh who had participated in the Step on Board programme through her former law firm, Mishcon de Reya.
Now a partner at Gallant Maxwell, Dina is a media expert, having also previously worked as a print and radio journalist, and a television producer for CNN, NBC and the BBC.
Dina says, “I would recommend ‘Step on Board’ to any professional considering becoming a trustee, especially younger people as it provides a solid introduction and understanding of the requirements of the role a trustee will play. I don’t know of any other way for people in their early 30s to gain board experience so early in their careers. It’s also very good for personal development.”
Another executive recently appointed a trustee at charity, First Story, through Barclay’s Board Placement programme is Jane Clark, Director, Group Head of Graduate Resourcing and Development at Barclays.
Jane comments, “I recently attended my first board meeting, which was very exciting. The interview I had with Dame Mary Marsh through Step on Board was one of the highlights for me, and gave me the confidence and insight I needed throughout the interview process with First Story. I have been telling my colleagues at Barclays about the wonderful support I have received in gaining my board position, and hopefully have inspired more people to join up.”