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Sumaya Choudhury

29 June 2022

Meet Sumaya, an intern from KCL Civic Leadership Academy working with us at YTM. Sumaya has a background in working within the charity sector, along with a passion for tackling social inequalities and stereotypes for ethnic minorities. Continue reading to find out more about why she wanted to join this movement and why she is excited for our upcoming ‘Nurturing New Talent for Board Roles’ webinar.

Why did you want to become a member of the Movement?

What gravitated me towards the Young Trustees Movement in particular was their dedication to ensuring trustees, regardless of their background, are able to be on charity boards and have their voices heard and acknowledged. I had already heard of YTM previously from a friend who was also an intern. It was initially based on her recommendation that I was inclined to join. I truly endorse what they aim to achieve as young people are the future and they offer valuable information if given the opportunity to be listened to.

Not only will working with YTM grant me the opportunity to gain first-hand experience on what it is like to work in the civic sector, but it will provide me with a broader understanding on what trusteeship is, and what can be done to bridge the gap to ensure more young people are on leadership boards.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about geo-politics, achieving social justice and humanitarianism.

To be more specific, I would like to dedicate my time to focusing on the importance of justice and representation for the underrepresented. Currently outside of academia, I work with various charities and NGOs, whether it be fundraising for disaster and humanitarian relief, poverty alleviation and health, event planning to raise awareness on different social issues, and even volunteering with non-profit organisations that fight for civil rights and social action across the globe.

For me, growing up as a South Asian Muslim woman where there wasn’t accurate representation nor understanding, but merely stereotypes and stigmas attached to me and others like me, just for my background, made me who I am today. I stand up for what matters and don't take no for an answer. I am adamant to shatter glass ceilings and bridge the gap in leadership that still exists today where there isn’t nearly enough representation for minority groups - especially in areas where representation is crucial, such as in government and politics.

What do you hope to achieve whilst being with the Movement?

During my time here, I would hope to build on my leadership and communication skills whilst gaining hands-on experience in project management. I hope I can fully utilise this amazing opportunity to work with such an inclusive charity, and in turn work for a charity who lives its values in the same way full-time in the near future. I also believe that in my time here, I can make use of the fact that I am also a young person with a specific outlook, that could perhaps benefit the organisation in one way or another. I am keen to offer and apply said outlook when given new and creative tasks that I haven’t done before.

What are you most excited to work on during your placement?

I am most excited about the upcoming ‘Nurturing New Talent for Board Roles’ event focused on how boards can develop their trustee talent pipeline. I think this is so important as this would truly pave a way to explore spaces in a safe and nurturing way, and motivate young people on the importance of trusteeship. This way they would be in a safe environment, expectation and pressure free and much more willing to speak their mind and contribute to the cause. Also, they do not have the added pressure and expectations attached to a workplace environment.

An opportunity to observe a board is exciting, not only because of the fact that you are gaining knowledge and an insight into governance and leadership as well as the ins and outs of working in a charity first hand, but also as you yourself are free to ask as many questions without the fear of having to worry what others think of you. Learning about diversity and inclusion is one thing, but seeing, virtually meeting and being able to question trustees  on how they got to where they are in such an environment allows one to not only gain inspiration, but learn the endless benefits of working for a charity/NGO.

I think this is important because it will create more opportunities for people on the sharp end of exclusion to reap the benefits of trusteeship. Benefits such as strategic experience, working in a team, and overall contributing to a great cause whilst being able to network with professionals and other like minded individuals. There really is nothing more powerful than being able to share your thoughts, opinions, and ideas on how we can make and create change. We truly do not know the power our voices hold until we are brave enough to speak out! And that is the main reason why volunteering or working with charities is so amazing yet so underrated, because until you have an opportunity to understand and access it, you won’t know how many skills and benefits you are missing out on…

To conclude, I am keen to explore more about the ins and outs of working for a charity, the world of trusteeship and charity boards, and what it takes to run a successful and diverse one. I am hoping to fully take advantage of the many organisations hosting this event, such as Action for Trustee Racial Diversity, Getting On Board, and of course Young Trustees Movement, as well as connecting and hearing from amazing board speakers from a range of inspirational organisations such as Naomi Da Silva from YMCA, Ambreen Shah from Smallwood Trust, Patricia from Citizens Advice and Mike Allen from Involve.

If you are interested in learning more about how to nurture new talent, I look forward to seeing you at our webinar on July 12th. It will share tangible examples of charities running existing trustee pipelines schemes and what next steps boards can take.