What do we want? Women trustees! When do we want them? Now!

What do we want? Women trustees! When do we want them? Now!

Women Trustees – empowering the next generation of female leaders

One of the most exciting parts of recruiting new external trustees is that it focuses the attention on the composition of the trustee board.

Attracting more women to boards

Research within the charity sector and in the wider corporate governance environment, highlights the challenges and opportunities of attracting more women to become trustees.

Like any volunteering scenario, becoming a trustee is a big commitment, in terms of both time and to the values and ethos of the charity. Negotiating time spent on trustee business with time spent at work, with friends and family or leisure time and, in the case of students’ unions, being available to support, coach or mentor less experienced first-time trustees.

We live, work and study against a larger local, national and global background that people characterise as ‘VUCA’:-

  • Volatile
  • Uncertain
  • Complex
  • Ambiguous

Yes, it’s true that organisations are facing uncertainty and university students’ unions are certainly not immune from this on a number of fronts – given the ongoing debates regarding Higher Education.

Improving leadership qualities

The tone of leadership in any organisation is influenced by the tone at the top level, which means the trustee board members and the management.

Back in 2017, Lancaster University Students’ Union were proud to announce an all-female senior management team in place, working alongside the trustee board. Having this team in place was a massive step towards reshaping the culture and focus of the organisation – helping diversify the board and empowering more women to take up leadership roles.

Leadership can take many different forms. The ideal models are those which place importance on collaboration, mutual respect and support.

“Recognising the increasing irrelevance of ‘heroic leadership’ will ensure a delivery of core goals and values, then people need to be prepared to leave their egos outside.” – Laura Davies, External Trustee, LUSU.

Being a trustee of a students’ union, in particular, provides the perfect opportunity to support individuals often in their first position of leadership and take part in discussions at the forefront of the Higher Education and charity sectors.

Leadership traits can be exhibited by everyone at all levels in an organisation, but it is incumbent on leadership teams and trustees to inspire the next generation of female leaders.

An exciting time for women trustees

There has never been a better time for women to apply to join a board. This will help create successful, exciting and dynamic boards whilst inspiring the next generation of women to develop as leaders.

We hope that we have sparked your interest in becoming a trustee. If you would like to join a trustee board, then Peridot Partners would love to hear from you!

Inspired? Please share this article or, if you would like to learn more about this role or would like a confidential conversation, please get in touch with Bill Yuksel – 07801 897063 or bill@peridotpartners.co.uk.

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