Trustees' Week 2020 - Trustee Insights
04/11/2020 (Volunteer Post )
So far we've talked a lot of theory and guidance, so for our third day in #TrusteesWeek2020 we thought best to hear from a Renfrewshire trustee directly. Katy's blog below about her experience as a Trustee with SWAN is both insightful and inspiring, give it a read!
I’m Katy Wilson-Scott and in my day job I manage Kairos Women’s Space, part of Active Communities in Renfrewshire. I’m also a Trustee with the Scottish Women’s Autism Network (SWAN), a registered charity bringing autistic women together for peer support and networking. Autism has, up until very recently, been believed to be more common in males than in females. There is much greater awareness of girls and women now as our knowledge and understanding grow and evolve. SWAN works to raise awareness of autistic women’s experiences across Scotland, something I’m deeply passionate about. I’ve been with SWAN since May 2020 following 2-years as a Trustee with a National charity tackling gender-based violence.
I love the challenge of trusteeship as it brings a new area of learning. I first became a Trustee aged 28, and I was the anomaly as a young woman. This brings with it feeling of being an “imposter” and you have to really push yourself to feel that your voice is valid and your perspective is important. A Trustee mentorship programme would have really made a difference to me as a young Trustee – someone to talk to about all the acronyms and processes that were so new! They have something similar at SWAN (a buddy), which made me feel at home immediately.
I’m a young woman (maybe I don’t count in this category at 30!) and I work in the charitable sector for my day job. This gives me insight into the workings of charities including policies and procedures, HR and finances, which can be brought to my role at SWAN. There are so few young women applying for trustee roles – if there’s any young women reading this and you’re unsure if you can do it, I’d say go for it! You’ll have a unique perspective that you can bring to any board and they’d love to see you application.
I’m also gay – LGBTQ+ women were encouraged to apply for my previous role, which is the reason I felt comfortable applying to such a large organisation. My fellow Trustees at SWAN are from all walks of life with diverse experiences. They are a kind and accepting team with inclusion at their heart, which is why I feel right at home.
I completed Feminist Governance training in my previous role and just last week SWAN hosted governance training for all Trustees with Inspiring Scotland. I’ve learnt a lot about finances, the nature and importance of good governance and how vital critical thought is for an effective board. I’ve never been good with budgets but it’s safe to say I am now! It’s an area I’ve been committed to understanding and my work as a Trustee has given me that opportunity.
There’s always so much going on as a Trustee so it’s a very dynamic role – you have to think fast and stay aware of so many different things. As SWAN is a small, growing organisation we’ve been working hard to get everything in place for the next phase of our journey, which is an exciting challenge!
If you’re looking for a new challenge and have some interest in supporting charities then this is a great way to do it! It involves less time commitment than traditional volunteer roles and allows you to work away at home getting tasks completed prior to meetings.
I’m very proud of my work in the women’s sector in Scotland and so many of the women I have met along the way are the trailblazers of the Scottish movement. There’s something special about that.