Trustee week – A Chair’s Blog by Craig Harris
Firstly, I am proud to be a Trustee. Beyond that I am actually privileged to be a Trustee. Being a trustee to me isn’t about self-gratification or undertaking the role for the kudos or status. Nor is it about padding out my CV or glory grabbing, it’s about being part of something, to make a difference, no matter how small!
I have just been fortunate enough to lead the board of our fantastic organisation; that we are all humbled to be a part of, through its 10th AGM. Survivors Manchester, a survivor founded, user led organisation, is a beacon of hope for all survivors.
In the board meeting as I reflected on our journey, trustees past and present, good and bad decisions, I was reminded of our single mission that has been our sword and shield; through the battles we have fought, overcome and won! Simply put #BREAKTHESILENCE. We cannot (and I will not) let silence be the only thing we hear! Being a trustee to me means being a champion and flying the flag for all survivors! It’s about being a critical cog in the machinery of life.
I see my trustee role in supporting others, being a voice piece, asking the difficult (and hard) questions and navigating the often unchartered and sometimes shark infested waters, that is the voluntary, community and public sector arenas. Many charities face challenges, whether that’s policy decisions, austerity, public perception, competition or even organisational identity. But to stay true and be authentic while adapting to change and weathering any storm, is a truly a gift. I am honoured to sit alongside a highly skilled, committed and passionate set of trustees, who bring life and work experience to the board room, to make a difference for all survivors. However without our amazing team my Trustee role would lack purpose and meaning as they are the true grafters each and every day, working harder and faster to make our charity absolutely brilliant!
Trustees come in many shapes and sizes and often give up their personal time and energy to be a part of something special. Watching our organisation grow and develop, tackling complex and sensitive issues and seeing a direction of travel emerge, allowing a new journey to begin, is such a rewarding experience to be a part of. Being a trustee often surprises, not least because it shows me what sheer determination, courage and strength can achieve. It has also all too often restored my faith in humanity, in a world where evilness stalks; I see the power that good can do, though each of our staff members, therapists, volunteers and SURVIVORS!
So my advice if you want to be a trustee is to do something that has meaning and has you thinking all the time, pushes your limits, opens your eyes and is something you enjoy.
I have a moto that has stood by me through the test of time –
“Life is Limited, our future is unlimited, so be a limited edition”