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Meet Francisca Rockey

Megan Raybould

24 April 2023

Francisca Rockey is a trustee Global Action Plan. Francisca shares her journey to becoming a young trustee from first finding out what it means to be a trustee to taking on her first board role. We chatted to her about skills she's gained and her top tips for finding and settling into your first role.

Francisca Rockey is not only a trustee for Global Action Plan but is also an award-winning geographer and campaigner who is regularly involved in social campaigns, and charity fundraising. She is also a writer and public speaker featured in mainstream and online media.

In April 2020, Francisca founded Black Geographers, an online network supporting the next generation of black geographers and geoscientists.

What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies and interests?

My main interests are conservation, biodiversity and African ecology. In my spare time, I am a conservation volunteer at a local nature reserve, and I support the staff and volunteer team with practical conservation tasks and habitat management across the site.

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

In August 2020, I saw a vacancy for a young trustee position at a charity focused on social issues in and around London. I had no idea what it meant to be a trustee, or if I was qualified for the role but I knew that I was deeply interested in social and environmental issues and wanted the opportunity to work closely with the organisation to make change happen. So, I applied, and I never heard back.

Fast forward to December 2021, I had attended a few Young Trustee Movement events so, I had more knowledge about the application, interview and onboarding process and with this, I applied for another young trustee position. I was shortlisted for interview, but other candidates were more able to demonstrate how they fitted with the charity’s values and could contribute to the worked of the charity’s governance. I felt quite deflated after this, but I was determined to give it another go.

In February 2022, Global Action Plan (GAP) were advertising for a new Climate Justice Trustee and given my interests, I knew I would be perfect for the role so I applied and a few weeks later, I was invited to an online interview and the next day, I received an offer to join their Board of Trustees in May 2022.

Where are you as a trustee? And what does your role entail?

I am a Climate Justice Trustee at Global Action Plan . My role is to strengthen GAP’s representation of their key audience, young people and those with the least power or voice in the current system. For example, I support specific projects involving my area of particular expertise through social media engagement, grant writing, focus groups with youth ambassadors, facilitating workshops or hosting online events.

What is the greatest skill you’ve developed in your trustee journey?

Public speaking. I had the opportunity to co-host the London Sustainable City Awards a week before officially joining GAP’s board and more recently, I co-hosted a session at our annual Youth Summit. Public speaking can be daunting at first but practice makes perfect!

What’s the biggest misconception there is about young trusteeship?

I think the biggest misconception is that you have little experience and nothing to offer. Even without formal experience, I think everyone has something to offer. Experience takes many different forms, you can gain experience from your own life experiences, school, part-time jobs, from being a young carer – there is an organisation out there that needs your voice and personal or professional experiences, whatever they are!

Any tips for other people looking for trusteeships or starting out as a young trustee?

  1. Engage with Young Trustees Movement’s event, I found them super helpful and found myself referring to your advice during each application process.
  2. Sign up to newsletters or set up job alerts, for example, Charity Jobs so you know what roles are out there.
  3. Start small, join a youth advisory group and see if you enjoy it and what you can learn from it before applying to a trusteeship.

We often hear that young people experience imposter syndrome when they first join a board - what are your tips for overcoming this?

If in doubt, ask loads of questions or ask to shadow another board member. In my first few board meetings, I didn’t feel like I had a lot to contribute but the more I got involved with GAP’s events, read through onboarding documents containing our mission, vision and existing projects, I slowly started to feel more confident representing GAP and try to make at least one contribution within board meetings.

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