Trustee Interview – Samir Manek

Name: Samir Manek

Charity: The Advocacy Academy –

Bio – Personal and professional experience and passions

Samir graduated with a First Class degree in Law from the University of Warwick. He trained as a solicitor at a magic circle law firm and now prosecutes white collar crime.

Samir worked with charities and social enterprises, in the UK and abroad, with a focus on developing marginalised and underrepresented individuals’ human and social capital. Samir is involved with a number of other pro bono activities including advising his secondary school on university admissions.

Seeing new places, understanding new cultures and tasting new foods are among Samir’s passions.

Tell us about your charity and the area it works in?

The Advocacy Academy (TAA) is a transformational Social Justice Fellowship for young people who are passionate about making a difference in the world. TAA supports young leaders from marginalised communities to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to tackle some of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

Q&A Questions 

  1. How long have you been a trustee?

I have been a trustee for four months.

  1. What made you want to become a trustee?

I wanted to become a trustee to apply and refine my skill set, with a group of like-minded people, in the decision-making body of a charity whose purpose I believe in.

  1. Why did you want to support a charity in the social justice sector?

My experiences to date and the challenges I see within society have meant supporting a charity in the social justice sector is an imperative to me. TAA’s goal is to develop young leaders, from marginalised communities, who are passionate about and are actively making a positive difference in the world.

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

Before being invited to join the board, I had: researched TAA, spoke to the ever-inspiring Chief Advocate and Development Director and a number of the current trustees, attended one of their events and developed my understanding of the opportunities and challenges. TAA is a small, unique and growing charity with plenty of potential. It’s an exciting time to be a trustee.

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

From a personal perspective, I sit alongside a group of brilliant trustees who feel like a family. Additionally, I have met some fantastic people at events including ones at the Battersea Arts Centre and Parliament. From a professional development perspective, being a trustee develops one’s leadership, decision-making and critical thinking skills. The trustees come from different spheres which enriches my decision-making skills as I consider different perspectives. We analyse and make strategic decisions together to create the best path forward.

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

Professionally, my legal background offers me a particular lens through which to critically analyse issues. Personally, my unique background offers value to decision-making. A diverse board with different perspectives often leads to the best decision making.

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

I think there a number of opportunities for charities and seeing further guidance for young, expanding charities that are multi-focused is something I would encourage.

  1. What would you say are the important attributes a trustee should have?

The three most important attributes a trustee should have are: a belief in the charity’s purpose, the ability to constructively challenge to ensure the best possible decisions are made, and being open and curious to all the opportunities that such a position provides.

  1. If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about becoming a trustee what would it be?

Mindful of the responsibility that such a role entails and noting your passion for what the charity does, I would say absolutely do it. It is a rewarding, insightful and challenging role to take on.