Trustee Interview – Rupal Kantaria

Name: Rupal Kantaria

Charity: The Lullaby Trust

Bio – Personal and professional experience and passions

Rupal is a director at Oliver Wyman, advising on Social Impact and Inclusion. She joined Oliver Wyman in 2003 and has worked across a broad range of roles: in financial services strategy consulting, in Management as COO across the EMEA Insurance Practice and co-leading the Global Gender network across 30 offices. She is founder of  Mission INCLUDE, a cross company, UK-wide ecosystem driving innovative tangible solutions to Inclusion. She is also director of her Family’s charitable foundation, founder of “GenGive” a movement to inspire a generation of changemakers and Trustee, befriender, and long term supporter of national child bereavement charity The Lullaby Trust.

Tell us about your charity – what are your aims? 

The Lullaby Trust’s vision is to stop all unexpected deaths of babies and young children

Q&A Questions 

  1. How long have you been a trustee?

1.5 years (since March 2017)

2. What made you want to become a trustee?

I wanted to take on a role to give back to society so had been thinking about playing a stronger role in the community eg as a School Governor, Trustee etc.

  1. Why did you want to support a charity in (insert sector)? E.g. Arts/International/Animals.

My middle child passed away from what we were told was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It devastated my world and this was a way I could channel that grief positively. I was also shocked that the UK has one of the highest SIDS rates in Western Europe.

  1. Did you know much about this charitable cause before you became involved as a trustee?

A little from my role as a “befriender” supporting other bereaved parents but now I realise not very much, and I’m still learning which I love.

  1. What do you feel trusteeship adds to your personal and professional development?

Personally, I’ve enjoyed working and observing the high calibre CEO of this charity, listening and learning from the medical professionals on the Board and interacting with a diverse group of people from those I typically work with.

I’ve been hugely impressed with the quality and talent of the people in the charity I’ve worked with – I think there’s sometimes a sense that the third sector is slower than the private sector – on the contrary the resourcefulness and creativity you need to plan and operate in an environment with not only limited but also uncertain funding is greater than many corporates. The empathy and humanity of those I’ve met is also what I think the workforce of the future will need.

Overall I also gain huge satisfaction in contributing to a cause which I feel supports others.

Professionally, I’ve got a much better view of the key issues that the third sector are facing from a first hand perspective. Many of which are not dissimilar from the private sector in terms of  more difficult financial conditions, the rapidly evolving tech environment with its opportunities and challenges etc.

I’ve enjoyed and further developed my consulting skillset in terms of structuring problems, listening, learning, empathy and strategic sparring.

  1. What value have you been able to add to your charity with your personal and professional experience?

I have a very different profile from the other Trustees – not just in the obvious ways in terms of my ethnicity and age, but also my professional services background. My consulting toolkit and experience in strategic sparring has been helpful – and other connections into the corporate space when we’ve needed advice from other sectors.

  1. What do you think is the biggest challenge currently facing charities?

Boring answer but I think financial sustainability – particularly for the smaller less well known charities / causes that play a huge societal role driven by all sorts of other issues beyond the obvious of more challenging economic conditions.

  1. What would you say are the important attributes a trustee should have?
  • Passionate about the cause
  • Responsible and take the role seriously
  • Empathetic and curious – be open to listening and learning.
  1. If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about becoming a trustee what would it be?

Find something you are passionate about and apply – the rest will follow!

OR don’t underestimate the value you can bring as a Trustee regardless of your background -nor the value the role will bring to you.