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blog • Resource

#Meettheambassadors: EMILIA DE LUCA

Jasmin Glynne

26 July 2021

Each week we will be spotlighting one of our amazing 2021 cohort of Ambassadors! This week we caught up with West Midlands regional ambassador Emilia De Luca to discuss trusteeship and her campaign to increasing the number of young trustees on trustee boards in the faith sector.

Emilia De Luca

West Midlands Ambassador

Young Trustees Movement Ambassador

Emilia has been a trustee since the age of 19, sort of by accident! She is a trustee for Student Christian Movement (SCM), a charity that supports Christian university and Higher Education students across Great Britain, with a focus on social justice and being an inclusive space. Alongside this, she is the Access and Inclusion portfolio holder on SCM's General Council.  She is currently nearing the end of a degree in Motorsport Engineering at Coventry University, and has a particular interest in encouraging under-represented groups into motorsport and STEM. Outside of studying, Emilia likes to do all kinds of crafts (particularly crochet), bake and volunteer at festivals and events.

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

I’ve been a trustee for the Student Christian Movement (SCM) since August 2018; we’re a membership-based charity who support and work with progressive Christian students in HE across Britain. We have a particular focus on being inclusive and celebrating diversity, as well as putting our faith in action (often through social justice projects). We’re also quite unique in that we are entirely student led – all the trustees and members of General Council are students or recent graduates.

I became a trustee sort of by accident! I had been a member of SCM for around 6 months when I attended their annual national gathering for the first time. I was struck by how inclusive it was, how welcome I was made to feel and how lovely it was to meet a bunch of people just like me. The national gathering also doubles up as the AGM, so during this I got to learn a little about being on SCM’s General Council (GC, the charity’s decision making board) and trustee boards. I chatted with one of SCM’s trustees and GC members at the time, and despite knowing little about SCM at the time she put it in my mind to consider being on GC as a way to get involved with the national movement (SCM is also made up of local groups, but at the time there wasn’t one near me). A month later I went to an SCM GC/trustee meeting to see what it was like, and was asked if I wanted to be co-opted as both a GC member and as a trustee (as they didn’t have enough trustees for the next year). I said yes, and I’ve been a trustee for nearly three years now!

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

SCM is unusual in that all the trustees have to be students or recent graduates which generally means that most, if not all, trustees are ‘young trustees’. With SCM being my only experience of trusteeship, I didn’t always realise quite how unique that is! Being in this scenario has meant I could flourish as a trustee, I’ve never been spoken over by older trustees or asked for the ‘young person’s view’. The charity is experienced in having trustees who often have little experience in similar roles, so we are well supported and receive plenty of training. My age has little influence on being a trustee, but I became aware that many other young trustees don’t have the same experience, or people are nervous to become trustees because of the stereotypes of trustee boards. I wanted to be an ambassador for YTM so I could share this unique trustee experience with others as well learn about other people’s experience as young trustees, so I could better support others interested in trusteeship.

I’ve also learnt so much from being a trustee alongside it being enjoyable (most of the time!). I now have knowledge in line management, HR, policy writing, decision making, event/conference exhibiting and much more. Being a YTM ambassador also gives me the platform to share how wonderful trusteeship is, and what a great opportunity it is to learn new skills that you may otherwise not learn until later in life.

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

My campaign is around increasing the number of young trustees on trustee boards in the faith sector. I’m hoping to engage with charities of all sizes who work in/on faith projects and/or who carry out charitable work due to their beliefs, to encourage them to have young trustees on their boards. Alongside this, I’m hoping to get together current young trustees on boards of faith based charities to share experiences.

Why are you passionate about your campaign focus?

Part of my role as a trustee for SCM involves exhibiting at events and going to conferences (usually Christian events, and sometimes interfaith ones). I often notice the lack of younger people attending, and very few younger people in positions of leadership and decision making. I particularly remember attending one national conference where the ‘young people’ where asked to stand up in the middle of the conference floor so they could point us out, and they defined young people as under 35! Often in Christian spaces ‘young people’ means under 40! Noticing these things has increased my passion in increasing the number of younger people in decision making positions in both faith charities and places/organisations of worship, and working to have more young trustees in faith based charities is a small step  towards that.

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