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#MEETTHEAMBASSADORS: BOLA AJOSE

Jasmin Glynne

02 August 2021

Meet Bola Ajose, the previously the Events Management Trustee for Bi Pride UK, she became acquainted with the world of trusteeship through the Beyond Suffrage programme where she learnt key skills that prepared her for a trustee position. Read her story to find out why she became a trustee and read about Bola's campaign encouraging Black Women to pursue trusteeship.

Bola Ajose

London Ambassador

Young Trustees Movement Ambassador

Bola Ajose is a self-taught programmer, and passionate about STEM communication and amplifying Black Women’s voices within this space. She works as Technical Operations Analyst at the data platform Permutive with previous experience as a Logistics Manager for Stemettes, and Programme Manager at Coders of Colour. Bola first became acquainted with the world of trusteeship through the Beyond Suffrage programme where she learnt key skills that prepared her for her first trustee position as Events Management Trustee for Bi Pride UK.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a trustee, how did you get to this point?

I first got involved in trusteeship through a programme, Beyond Suffrage. I was actually sent the application by a friend and at the time I didn't really know what trusteeship was but I knew I really wanted to understand more about the charity world so decided to apply. I was lucky enough to get onto the programme and during the 12 weeks we learnt a range of topics from Charity Governance & Finance to Ethical Leadership and Sustainability. This was a really invaluable experience and was a great way to enter the world of trusteeship. I then later joined the BiPride UK trustee board as an Events Management Trustee, this was a great experience and was a great way to learn more about diversity and was a great challenge during the pandemic as we had to re-think our events and find better ways of being inclusive.

What motivated you to become an Ambassador for the Young Trustees Movement?

Last year I wrote up a blog piece for the YTM and from that I learnt more about the movement, I really aligned with the aims and knew that I wanted to somehow continue a relationship with the movement. When the ambassador role was announced I had recently finished up my term as Trustee at BiPride and I wanted to still be involved in the world of trusteeship. I thought this would be a great way for me to meet like minded people and also kind of gain more knowledge about trusteeship. I also wanted the opportunity to be able to open up people's understanding of what trusteeship is and the importance of it, and also the importance of having variety and diversity on charity boards.

What is your campaign focus/what do you hope to achieve with your campaign?

My campaign focuses on Young Black Women Trustees; it’s both a celebration of current Black Female trustees and also a way to encourage Black Women to pursue trusteeship. The reason why I've picked this is because Black Women are often left out of the conversation when focusing on encouraging diversity in trusteeship. The focus is often on all Women or People of Colour and forgets that Black Women face a particular type of discrimination and this is not addressed. As such having Black women on the board of trustees is very important in charities, especially those that look to help our communities.

It's so important to have people reflected on the trustee board who the charities are hoping to serve. Also as I said, I had no idea what trusteeship was beforehand, so I'll be focusing on providing understanding of what it is and providing skills to help them achieve trusteeship. I also want to bring awareness of the great work that Black women trustees are doing. My aims are by the end of my campaign that people will be more aware of what trusteeship is and appreciate the black women who are doing great work already. I am hoping to not only empower but provide a great starting point for those interested in trusteeship.

Why are you passionate about your campaign focus?

As I mentioned before, not a lot of focus is put on Black women when we look at diversity and inclusion. Looking at the stats 8% of trustees are from Black and Asian backgrounds and only 2.9% are women of colour, so I can only imagine what it is for Black women as we lack UK focused statistics on this. We tend to lump Black Women in the ‘BAME’ group and not acknowledge that every different group has a diverse set of needs. Therefore I think it's really important to give black women the space to be recognised and empowered. It’s important that we have an opportunity to have a say in what happens in these charities that are supposed to work in our best interests. I think this campaign would be really important in bringing that awareness to people. Also, the world of trusteeship can be quite lonely for black women, so to be able to create the space and to celebrate the good work that people are doing,  is really important.

If you’re interested in trusteeship, this campaign, or our work in London, then please do get in touch. Email me on bola@​youngtrusteesmovement.org for a chat about how you can get involved.

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