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#MeetTheAmbassadors: Kate Roberts

Jasmin Glynne

16 April 2021

Each week we will be spotlighting one of our amazing 2021 cohort of Ambassadors! This week we caught up with South East Ambassador Kate Roberts to discuss trusteeship and her campaign to bring sustainability to the forefront of charity governance.

Kate Roberts

South East Ambassador

Young Trustees Movement Ambassador

Kate Roberts is the Chair of Trustees at Royal Holloway Students’ Union, where she is currently the President. Her first experience of being a Trustee was through becoming the Vice President Education in 2019, she is keen to undertake further Trustee roles when her term comes to an end in July 2021. Kate is also an Advocate for Girlguiding UK where she acts as a national spokesperson, representing and campaigning for girls and young women across the UK.  In her free time Kate enjoys hiking, camping and spending time in nature.

How did you get involved in trusteeship?

I became a Trustee when I was first elected to a Sabbatical Officer role as the Vice President Education at Royal Holloway Students’ Union, since then I have now moved into the President role and am therefore currently the Chair of Trustees. For me, becoming a trustee was something that came with the role, I knew very little about it and what it entailed. Getting an understanding of the role of a Trustee has shown me just how valuable young people’s voices can be in Board discussions. The other Officers and students trustees who join with our external trustees to make up our Board all bring incredibly valuable perspectives that help us identify the best progression for the organisation. From what is hopefully the start of my trustee journey, I have seen just how effective diverse trustee boards can be. Being thrust into the role has taught me a lot about a space I never considered was accessible to me and has made me excited to find a new trustee role after I finish my time as a Sabbatical Officer in July. Trusteeship was not something I necessarily signed up for when running for election, but it is an experience I have absolutely loved and will take away to inform and engage with in whatever I do next!

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

Through my initial journey as a trustee, I did not realise there were organisations championing youth voice in this space until about a year ago, when I discovered the Young Trustees Movement on social media and started watching the fantastic work they do from afar. When the call came for applications to become an Ambassador, I thought this seemed like a fantastic opportunity to get engaged with an organisation whose values and ambition align so closely with mine. I was particularly struck by the emphasis on all aspects of diversity as being central to achieving the mission the Young Trustees Movement is all about and I feel extremely privileged to be engaging in a space that has so many incredible young people leading the conversation and driving change in the sector. I am super excited to get connected with more charities and young trustees across the South East, as well as continue making change with the brilliant Ambassador cohort!

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

The campaign I am leading is all about environmental sustainability. All Trustee Boards need to have an awareness of sustainability and be able to identify and mitigate the risks associated with sustainability in their organisation. The climate crisis will affect all charities and has become a central discussion in future-proofing the charity sector. In my campaign I would like to see a greater representation of young trustees in charities focused on sustainability and the environment, particularly as young people have been leading the movement in this area for years now and have evidenced their drive and organisational ability to make large scale change. I would also like to produce training for trustee boards to start engaging with the conversation around sustainability and use it to inform their trustee board discussions. This would ensure that sustainability becomes a key focus in the sector, as well as bring young people’s voices into the forefront of these discussions and decisions.

Why are you passionate about your campaign focus?

I have always been passionate about the environment and protecting our planet, it is our future, and the climate crisis will impact every aspect of our lives. Sustainability needs to be embedded into everything we do for us to see fundamental change, from individual actions to institutional changes. The impact trustee boards could make if they were informed and driven to make sustainability a key focus of all charities would be huge, and I am excited to be a part of helping drive this change in the charity sector. It can feel easy as a young person to feel like you aren’t a big enough driver to make change and that your voice isn’t going to create the impact you want, young trustees can help change this narrative and open up the space for more young people to become a part of the decision makers.

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