Trustees and Treasurer – Action for Blind People

Trustees and Treasurer – Action for Blind People

Action is part of the RNIB group, and a national charity in its own right with local reach, providing expert practical help and support to blind and partially sighted people of all ages. Having recently worked with Action to appoint their new Chief Executive, Peridot was appointed to work with the charity to support the recruitment of a treasurer and three visually impaired trustees. Action is committed to working in partnership with people affected by sight loss, including ensuring that at least 50% of their board are blind or partially sighted, and needed individuals with experience of operating at a strategic level in customer focused organisations. In addition we were tasked with finding a Treasurer who was a qualified accountant.

The assignment had a number of areas of complexity: as part of the RNIB Group, Action’s organisational structure is more complex than many other charities, and with a new Chief Executive recently in post, had embarked on an exciting but challenging future strategy. Additionally, identifying individuals who are blind or partially sighted can be difficult as many people do not publicly identify themselves as such, and so our search required detailed research and the use of our established networks within this space. Furthermore, two-thirds of registered blind and partially sighted people of working age are not in paid employment (one of the issues which Action is keen to address!), so the search had to be creative to ensure that people with the level of strategic skills required were identified, but that we did not exclude individuals unnecessarily.

Having originally set out to appoint three trustees, Action decided to appoint six! The individuals appointed were: Anna Tylor, Chair of Dyslexia Action; Sandi Wassmer, a thought leader in inclusive design and accessible ICT whose experience includes as CFO and COO of Universal Studios’ SyFy UK TV Channel; John Charles, Managing Director of a social enterprise, who also has a range of non-executive and ambassadorial experience at a regional and national level around social enterprise and small business; Steph Cutler, an entrepreneur providing personal and professional development coaching and specialist programmes on job-seeking, self-employment and personal leadership to disabled people; Alan Lock, currently Head of Logistics within the IT services business for BT,  formerly with the Royal Navy and an adventurous fundraiser, including having rowed across the Atlantic and skied to the South Pole; and Keith Valentine, Director at the Thomas Pocklington Trust and formerly a Chief Executive and Director within regeneration organisations. In addition, independent consultant Deborah Harris was appointed as Treasurer. Deborah’s experience includes as Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee at Moorfields Eye Hospital Foundation NHS Trust and as Chairman of a number of non-executive groups within the ICAEW.

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