Before becoming a Trustee for Agenda Alliance, I did lots of research on the charity, what it stands for and its ethics. I was blown away by the work that Agenda does and how it gets the voices of women and girls with unmet needs out there. I then reached out to Agenda’s CEO, Indy Cross, and instantly knew that the organization was something I most definitely wanted to be a part of. Indy was so authentic and passionate about the work Agenda does, I felt like I was chatting with an old friend. We talked about the inequality that many women and girls live through and I thought wanting to support these women and girls to help them strive was admirable.
The theme of Trustees' Week this year, ‘Many voices, working together, with purpose’ is fundamental to working as a Trustee. Trustees with different professional and life experiences all need to communicate their views and influence matters that affect the running of a charity. It is extremely important for a Board of Trustees to hear different perspectives and opinions when making decisions. When the different voices of individual Trustees come together in harmony, you can be confident that the correct decisions are made. It is such a privilege to work alongside the other board members at Agenda Alliance, who are a brilliant bunch of fantastic women with so many different skill-sets.
Since becoming a Trustee, I have learnt what is involved in the management of a charity, the importance of funding and budgeting, and holding the CEO accountable for providing the level of service that is promised. As a black woman, with a criminal conviction, I wasn’t made to feel I was capable of such an opportunity, and this has been a great way to learn new skills within a leadership role. I am able to draw on my own experiences in meetings where other Trustees do not have lived experience, of both domestic violence and the criminal justice system, and racial inequalities, and this is a strength I can bring to the work we do together.
In my role as Women’s Involvement Advisor at One Small Thing charity, I also draw on my own experiences of the criminal justice system to advocate and campaign for women whose voices are not being heard. As a woman who is double disadvantaged - black with a criminal record - I strive to be the change I want to see. When advocating on behalf of women with multiple unmet needs, like Agenda Alliance does, I feel it is imperative to hear from women with lived experience, and have representation at Board level. Unless you have lived through these issues, you do not have a full understanding of how we feel and more importantly the change we would like to see. It is therefore so powerful to be part of the board at Agenda Alliance, in order for my voice to be heard, and to contribute to positive change for women and girls.