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blog • Story


Megan Raybould

17 June 2020

Renee has very recently found a trustee role through the Digital Hub. She’s starting a trusteeship with Action Breaks Silence. Renee has volunteered in the UK and abroad since she was 16 and is a campaigner for youth rights and international development.

What are your hobbies, interests and passions?

I’m involved with lots of different things. I like to cook, bake and do yoga.

I have been a campaigner for about six years now. I've worked as a youth ambassador for parliament. I’ve done lots of other volunteering too with NCS, ICS and Uprising.

I'm very proud of my West Indian heritage so I take part in most of the arts, like Carnival. I have written and published my articles on an online West Indian platform called UK Soca Scene.

How did you find your new trustee role?

Well, I joined the digital hub after I saw a post about it on Linkedin.

I answered the questions you put out and then I had a few people respond to me. Including the founder of Action Breaks Silence - Deborah.

I had a phone call with Deborah and I looked at the website for the charity. It quite aligned with me because it’s teaching empathy training and self defense - and I’m a black belt!  So I felt like we just found amazing synergies.

I then sent her my CV, so she could share it with the rest of the board members. Days later, I had a zoom call with two of the UK trustees and herself. They liked me, they did a mini interview. Straight after that, they sent over my paperwork to fill out!

What made you want to be a trustee?

I would say it's my passion for development. I’ve been volunteering since I was 16 both in the UK and internationally. In the past I've been a brand ambassador and I've sat on youth councils. I recently had a promotion at work too and it's flagged to me that I'm capable and it's not an issue for me to be able to keep up with the workload. Over my career I want to get as many great experiences as I can really, and help as much as I can.

Is there anything about being a trustee that's really appealing, rather than another volunteer role?

I’m aware that the charity that I work for has a board of trustees who have been there since the charity was set up 40 years ago. I think that the board  is a bit outdated and inefficient. And that can negatively impact the company itself, or the charity itself and the amount we can do. So I just wanted to be able to be that voice of our generation, that my current charity doesn't have.

What's the biggest misconception that you think there is about a charity trusteeship or young trustees in particular?

I’d say the biggest misconception about trustees is that staff think they are hoarding resources or being unnecessarily conserative with spending.They don’t realise that a lot of the time spending decisions are made because of the way charities are funded - and often cutbacks that have to be made or the charity needs to look after it’s reserves.

Yeah, I would say the biggest misconception about young trustees is that we are young so it equals inexperience. They just assume that age equals experience.

I think that’s been the biggest challenge in my career so far too - the idea that young equals inadequate or inexperienced. Experience is experience. The time in your life that you take it doesn't reflect the quality of it.

Have you got any tips for anybody else looking to find a trustee role?

Keep kicking down doors.

My honest advice is just put yourself out there. There is no harm in it! If you try something and it really doesn't work for you, you're allowed to stop.

I’d also say, keep going and keep looking. It might take a long time to find your niche - it took me six years almost before I found my first long term paying job in this sector. But then within a short amount of time, I've also been promoted to head of development and partnerships at my current job.

So I'd say just keep putting yourself out there.

Finally, I’d say be open to take advice from people and  keep the connections you make from networking. They might not serve you in the now, but it might really help you in the future.

What’s been your biggest reward from being a volunteer?

For me, knowing that my actions have led to some sort of affect or a difference. For me, that's success.

If you have any questions or want to hear more about Renee’s experiences you can re-watch this week's Q&A with Renee and Leon here.

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