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Emily has grey blue eyes, brown hair and is smiling to camera

What it's like being a young trustee

Emily

As a young woman living with MS, I wanted to use my personal, lived experience to help make a difference to the lives of others in the community.

After volunteering for other charities, I was at a stage where I wanted to support an organisation at a more senior level. I was eager to learn more about leadership and governance and passionate about supporting the MS Society to deliver its mission.

Having a chat first helped

I met a few Trustees and the Chair of the Board for coffee who talked to me about the trustee role, offered their advice, insights and shared stories of their own involvement with the organisation. This only reaffirmed my commitment and I applied in the next recruitment round.

I knew that many other trustees had significantly more experience, but I felt empowered to bring my own set of skills and a different perspective to the conversation.

More to being a trustee than sitting on Boards

I joined the Board in January 2020 and have sat on both the Governance Committee and the Nominations Committee. This experience has enabled me to better understand how large organisations are run effectively, particularly strategic decision making and financial management. Gaining board experience at this stage of my career has also been helpful for my personal and professional development.

I have learnt so much from the people I’ve met through this role. I feel lucky to be part of an inclusive and collaborative Board and been able to work with wonderful members of the executive team too.

Why we need young trustees

Less than 3% of charity trustees are under 30.

One of my friends joined the board of another charity at the same time and was also the youngest voice in the room. This was great as we acted as each other’s cheerleaders, helped to support or advise on specific issues and encouraged each other to speak up and share our views.

This experience has been really rewarding. Volunteering as a trustee has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I would encourage other young people to step forward and get involved too.