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#MeetTheAmbassadors: Jouja Maamri

Jasmin Glynne

28 June 2021

Each week we will be spotlighting one of our amazing 2021 cohort of Ambassadors! This week we caught up with East of England regional ambassador Jouja Maamri to discuss trusteeship and her campaign to encourage young people from migrant backgrounds to become trustees.

Jouja Maamri

EAST OF ENGLAND AMBASSADOR

Young Trustees Movement Ambassador

Jouja is the Director of Impact at Regenerative Group, an impact investment fund investing in companies that enable a better and more sustainable world. She leads their impact measurement and management strategy, as well as managing external partnerships and business development. She is a Program Manager at Foundervine, a social enterprise building an inclusive start-up community for diverse and underrepresented founders. Additionally, she is currently a trustee at the New Economics Foundation - an organisation the supports people to create change and conducts research the contribute to policy solutions. Jouja is experienced in working across the philanthropic and non-profit sectors, including with the US-UK Fulbright Commission and the Synergos Institute, and currently volunteers as the Community Partnerships Lead at Migrant Leaders. She is the UK’s Delegate to the 2021 G7 Youth Summit and was formerly a Young Europe Ambassador, working with the 27 Ministers of European Affairs to shape discussions on the future of Europe.  She sits on the Sutton Trust’s Alumni Leadership Board, as well as Social Finance’s Racial Equity Advisory Group and The Big Issue’s Climate Advisory Group. She is a Young Founding Member of Impact 100 London, a Founders of the Future Fellow, and a Fellow at the Royal Society of the Arts.  Jouja holds a BA in Political Science & Human Rights from Columbia University, an MSc in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and is an alumna of SIT's International Honors Programme.

How did you get involved in trusteeship?

A few years ago I became a member of the Sutton Trust’s Alumni Leadership Board. After having benefited from their social mobility programmes - the result of which was me being able to study my undergraduate degree in New York! - I was passionate about giving back to an organisation that gave me so much. While this was not a formal trusteeship, it gave me insight into the role that external stakeholders could play in influencing an organisation’s agenda. The fact that all of the members of this group had lived experience of the issues the Sutton Trust was trying to tackle was particularly important.

To be honest, I’d never seen charity trusteeship as something that was accessible to me. In pretty much every way, I didn’t fit the image of the Trustee that I had seen. In my professional work, I was increasingly becoming involved in advocating for ethical board governance in the private sector. Through this research I found out how awful the statistics around board diversity are and how important diversity is for representative and inclusive decision-making. I decided that I could use my own skillset, as well as my lived experience, to help organisations from a governance level to create maximum impact.

I am a Trustee for the New Economics Foundation and have been in post for less than 6 months. I was drawn to NEF because of how aligned their principles and values were with my own and their commitment to changing the economy so that it better serves everyone. As someone coming from a working-class, single-parent household, it is amazing to be able to be part of an organisation seeking to change the very policies that govern our economy and could affect the livelihoods of future generations with similar upbringings to mine. It has been such a great learning journey and one of my favourite parts has been getting to know the other Trustees.

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

Through my work with the Sutton Trust and other social mobility organisations, I’ve become passionate about ensuring that all young people don’t just have access to higher education and the workplace but also leadership within these institutions. I started working with an organisation called Migrant Leaders which aims to develop leadership skills and opportunities for young migrants in the UK. Currently, citizen Directors of colour who migrated to Britain represent only 1.3% of FTSE100 Boardrooms and almost all were privately educated (The Parker Review). Migrant Leaders are on a mission to change this.

In my work with them, my eyes were opened to the importance of leadership in social mobility. The work of the Young Trustees Movement perfectly captures the importance of this. I wanted to be able to use my voice as a young Trustee to share my experiences and motivate other young people from all backgrounds to see trusteeship as something they are able to achieve. Becoming an Ambassador is a great way to spread awareness and help support the sustainability and growth of the movement.

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

I am eager to make sure that young people of colour, and specifically young people from migrant backgrounds, are aware of the role that they can play within charity governance and have the tools and resources they need to become Trustees. The Parker Review statistic mentioned above is shocking and although there isn’t adequate data out there, the same percentage for the charity sector isn’t likely to be much different. I want to advocate for more representation of young migrants of colour on charity boards because our pursuit of social mobility shouldn’t just end when we enter the workplace or higher education, but should be about having opportunities for leadership at all levels of an organisation.

Even if just one young person is able to become a Trustee as a result of my campaign, that would be achievement enough. I want young people across the UK to know that they too can become a Trustee and that it is an option available to them. As someone who comes from a migrant background themselves, I want to show that there are ways to overcome the barriers to leadership that so many often face. This also requires a shift on the side of the charity to become not just more diverse, but also more inclusive and equitable in their board recruitment and processes.

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