Saskia shares her views and experiences of being a trustee as part of our series of Trustees Stories.
My name is Saskia and I am a diversity and inclusion practitioner and Reach Volunteering trustee.
The chair of the board immediately put me at ease and alleviated all my anxieties, encouraging me to challenge and to freely bring myself and my perspectives to every conversation.
I had a feeling that there was something I needed to do, but I wasn’t sure what. It’s a mood, comprised in equal parts of the desire to feel useful, to be purposeful, to act intentionally, to contribute meaningfully. Sometimes you feel it in crashing waves, other times it’s in the background, and most often, it leaves you with no choice but to have a little faith and follow the feeling.
I work within the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) space and I’m a strong believer in skills-based volunteering as a way of giving that is responsible, thoughtful, and productive. I wanted to share my professional skills and I was using Reach’s site in the hope that there was a good cause out there in search of a willing EDI practitioner. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I hadn’t considered a trusteeship, but I was delighted to see that Reach were looking to strengthen their governance through EDI.
I needed no convincing about Reach but I wasn’t sure about being a trustee. I might have discounted myself but a few things made the difference. The advert was clear, concise, focused on skills rather than qualifications, and especially welcomed applications from Black, Asian & minoritised ethnic backgrounds, people with a disability and young people (under 35 years). Reach’s trustee candidate pack effectively outlined the role and the charity’s strategy and values. It honestly explained where the skills gaps were, which helped me to assess where I might add value. I also appreciated the openness and transparency of the application process.
The panel interviews were relaxed and professional, with equal opportunity for me to ask questions and get to know Reach as for Reach to get to know me. The Reach team were incredibly encouraging in evaluating my purpose and potential. We had open conversations around the training and support available for my learning, and I got a sense of how I could grow in the role.
Everyone has been so welcoming. Our CEO put together a robust induction plan and I have a wonderful board buddy who I feel I can go to with any questions, big or small. The chair of the board immediately put me at ease and alleviated all my anxieties, encouraging me to challenge and to freely bring myself and my perspectives to every conversation.
I am delighted to have joined such a talented board for such a vitally important charity and I’m thankful for the consideration Reach puts into each stage of the trustee recruitment cycle. In anticipating every need and caring about the candidate experience as much as the efficacy of the process, they allowed me to follow my feeling right into this role. I’m looking forward to what the future holds for Reach and could not be more grateful to be part of the journey.