Trustee interviews usually involve a panel of interviewers. They are often led by the CEO or Chair and can include other members of the board, executive directors, volunteers or service users. We often hear that interview processes should be a twoway street. An opportunity for everyone to find out if it’s the right match. Yet, once the panel’s questions are answered, the candidate only has a short time at the end to explore what they are curious about.
The world of trusteeship opened up to me in my former role, working for a charity who support non-profit Chairs. At first, the word trusteeship was unfamiliar, and dare I say, irrelevant to me. But I soon realised these charity board members were thoughtful, resilient, precise, eager to self-improve people who I really admired. I was inspired by their understanding of the people skills needed for the role, as well as the opportunity to do something to help people, challenging and growing yourself in the process.
When you’ve always felt like an outcast in life, it’s difficult to imagine yourself in a position of power. The statistics will be against you; that’s how I felt when I considered becoming a trustee. In England and Wales, only 8% of trustees are ethnic minorities, 36% are women and fewer than 3% are under the age of 30 (‘Taken on Trust’, 2017). This left me with a very small chance of becoming a trustee at Mind, the mental health charity.