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blog • Story

Meet Rhodri Roberts

Megan Raybould

26 August 2020

Rhodri Roberts is currently acting Chair of Stave Brave, a charity which aims to reduce stigma through the telling of survivors stories focusing on men & LGBT+ people. Read about his journey as a governance specialist and Chair of the board.

Rhodri Roberts

Chair, Stay Brave

Young Trustees Movement Movement Speaker

Tell us a bit about you!

I’m 27, Chair of Trustees for Stay Brave. A charity which aims to reduce stigma through the telling of survivors stories focusing on men & LGBT+ people. I specialise in governance on the trustee board when I’m not the chair!

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

I love cooking and baking, enjoy reading a book or watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.

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

I was asked to join the board as someone with relevant experience after taking part in Walking Brave, the annual fundraising event that symbolises the journey survivors take when taking those first steps towards asking and receiving the help they need.

Once I was on the board I knew I wanted to help by doing more, so stood for vice-chair and secretary. Then, when our old chair stepped down I took the step up and have been chair for just over a year now!

What’s your favourite part about your trustee role?

Getting to be involved in the inside of a charity not as staff but as a trustee. It’s so interesting getting to understand how charities are regulated, what checks and balances you have to do etc.

But you also have the opportunity to help make change not just through campaigning, but by being one of the key enablers that keeps a charity running or helps them take the next step by being there to check processes etc.

Why did you decide you wanted to be a trustee? And, how did you first hear about what a trustee was (lots of young people don’t know)?

I’ve been working in the charity sector for almost 5 years and it seemed like the best way to get experience that would help me become a manager in a charity. Because I work in students’ unions, I’ve been working alongside trustees (although in a very different capacity than most trustees and staff usually do!) because SU’s have student officers who are both trustees and staff.

What’s been your greatest reward on your trustee journey so far?

Stay Brave is getting ready to release our new strategy and it’s the first time i’ve seen and been part of a strategy development process from start to finish. I’m so excited for it to be released and for me to be able to point to it and say “I helped with this” and “this is how i’ve been spending the occasional weekend or evening and isn’t it amazing!”

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

Great question and I don’t think I know how to answer it! At a guess i’d probably say the biggest change between me at the start of my trusteeship (3 years ago) and now is that I feel a lot more comfortable understanding and creating a budget because i’ve learned that they actually aren’t as scary as they sound! I’m really bad with numbers etc. so i’ve had to push myself to understand them. Doing that has helped me to take on a position beyond a governance role – i’m now able to ask those questions about finances and budgets that probably scared me a few years ago!

What’s been your greatest challenge in your role as a trustee to date?

Realising it’s totally ok to walk into a room and not know everything! It sounds like such a basic thing to get to grips with but being chair of trustees you often have volunteers and trustees look to you for answers or decisions and sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up and say “I need advice from the treasurer or from the communications trustee” because actually leadership is as much about delegating as it is about being in the middle of those decisions and weighing up the options!

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

That you don’t have the experience to have an impact. The most impactful thing I’ve heard from the Young trustees movement is that you’re not there for what you *can* do but what you *could* do and that’s really resonated with me.

I didn’t get brought onto the trustee board of stay brave because I would be a good chair, just like I wasn’t brought on because I really got finances. But both of these are now very much strengths of mine (or at least getting there!).

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

Aim small! You’re not going to be a trustee of a charity with a million+ pound turnover overnight. Stay Brave is really small. We have no paid staff and to be honest that brings challenges that big charities aren’t able to deal with because they’ve never had to!

Look at smaller charities because you’ll also be able to see and evidence your impact so it feels a lot more meaningful!

Thank you so much Rhodri for sharing your story with us!

If you’d like to hear more from Rhodri, you can watch a Q&A in which he talks more about his experiences here

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