What is it like to be a trustee of Friendship Works?

Trustee’s Week runs from 4 – 10 November. It is a national campaign highlighting the role of trustees in charities. We thought this would be the ideal time for George Dunnett, our Chair of Trustees, to give a little insight into what it’s like to be a trustee for Friendship Works. Here is the first of his posts this week.

This is a busy week for me as Chair of Friendship Works and Trustee’s Week gives me a great opportunity to discuss what I do. My name is George Dunnett and I’ve been on the Board of Trustees of Friendship Works for eight years and Chair for the last two years. I was involved in hiring our last CEO, Richard Turner who did a great job for many years. Recently I’ve led the recruitment of our new CEO, certainly the most important job for a charity chair. With the help of the board and our recruitment consultants, Prospectus, we’ve found a great CEO, Iain Cassidy.

Today is around 100 days into the role for Iain and I’ve been considering how we’ve done as a board at getting him up to speed. I often turn to Bridgespan for advice when it comes to Friendship Works. They are an offshoot of the management consultancy that I work for and focus entirely on the not-for-profit sector. Unsurprisingly they view the CEO-Chair relationship as very important so I’ve been checking how we’ve done against their advice in an article called “Starting off on the Right Foot”. To summarise, the advice is:

  • Start before the job begins
  • Make a personal connection
  • Don’t dwell on the past
  • Be frank about challenges
  • Base the relationship on trust and respect

So how have we done? Pretty well – especially considering that Iain joined us following a period of change within the organisation and had to grapple with quite a few challenges very quickly.  Now we are looking forward to supporting Iain as he looks to innovate and grow the charity.