Our Trustee, Chris, tells us how he's getting on as the newest member of our Board, as part of Trustees Week 2021. Fancy becoming a Trustee for our charity? Then, read on!

With the first week of November being UK Trustees Week, as a relatively new Trustee I thought I’d share my thoughts on my first twelve months or so in the role with Advocacy Focus.

So, how did I become a Trustee? Well, it wasn’t something that I had ever really considered before. Pre-Covid, I was fully focused on my consultancy business which involved travelling up and down the country. Then, as we all know, things changed and travelling became more infrequent. I looked for networking opportunities and discovered a regular meeting held virtually at the University of Central Lancashire. Our CEO Justine was in the same meeting, had mentioned that they were on the lookout for new Trustees and following a couple of emails and conversations I was invited to attend my first meeting.

I didn’t really know much about the concept of advocacy before joining the Board to be honest. I wasn’t sure that I’d necessarily be able to add much value but from the discussions it was clear that my skills would bring something different and that actually it wasn’t a problem.

The other Trustees and the Senior Leadership Team have been incredibly supportive – I was provided with a buddy on the Board that I could ask any daft questions if I needed to (which I did!).

Having spent the first few meetings all virtual, we had our first face-to-face Board meeting in October, and it was great to meet my other Trustees in person rather than as a little picture in the corner of a computer screen.

I’ve also taken every opportunity I could to join in the activities that Board members have been invited to – so I have been to a Wellbeing Day and to a Team Meeting since the pandemic-related restrictions have started to ease. It’s been great to meet the wider team to hear first-hand of their experiences delivering the excellent advocacy work they’re doing on a daily basis. It gives me an opportunity to understand more about what we do as a charity and hopefully at the same time gives the team access to the Board as I have worked in organisations that have been very much an ‘us and them’ mentality between the employees and the Board. I wasn’t able to get to what sounded like an excellent conference that they hosted because of work commitments I couldn’t rearrange but other Trustees attended and fed back on how everyone did a brilliant job.

In terms of time commitment, I sit on two sub-groups (currently chairing one) and the regular quarterly Board meetings. So it’s probably two or three hours a month I would imagine (attending the other team activities are optional but I’ve been able to work around work commitments). I feel like I’m able to add value and give something back as a result of being a Trustee, and look forward to continuing to do so in the future. I didn’t know about Advocacy Focus before but now am passionate about trying to help them in any small way to being the best they can be.

By Chris Lintern, Trustee, Advocacy Focus.

Chris has spent almost 20 years specialising in risk management and resilience across a number of sectors, and set up his own business just over three years ago.  He has worked within financial services within the banking and insurance arms of the Co-op and at Barclays, and moved to Jermyn Consulting in 2014 before establishing Ashton Resilience in 2017.  He provides consultancy support to organisations within financial services, higher and further education, and food manufacturing.