I became a trustee of Move The World almost 4 years ago, and currently in my second term of service. The experience has been incredibly valuable and my decision to offer to extend my term reflects the fact that the benefit has been two way. So, what has been my trustee journey.
The pivotal moment came in 2017 when I joined Move The World (MTW) as the Ghana Director after magically discovering MTW on Twitter (yes, Elon’s bird app). After following activities of the organisation for a few months, I found a recruitment ad for a Director position. I hastefully applied and no I didn’t have to wait long before hearing back. The recruiting process was very organized and prompt, which made me positive about my soon-to-be new place of work.
After working with the team and the Medie Community for nearly 2 years, I moved on to take up a new position with the German Development Cooperation in Ghana. By this time, I had seen colleagues and community members become family members because of the deep experiences we shared. I was very humbled to be considered for a Trustee position as I saw this a validation of some of the work that I had done earlier but also an opportunity to continue to actively belong and contribute to this amazing Organisation.
Making lifelong friends through a team experience is one of the greatest benefits of being part of a team. When you work closely with others towards a shared goal, you have the opportunity to form strong bonds and create meaningful connections that can last a lifetime. Both as a Director and as a Trustee, I had the opportunity to meet very great people who have achieved so much professionally but are also extremely good people. If there is one thing MTW is blessed with, it must be attracting good people. I have benefitted from the counsel and mentorship of local community members of Medie but also Team members of MTW.
As a charity trustee, I have had the privilege of working alongside dedicated and passionate
individuals who are committed to making a positive impact in their communities. Serving as a trustee has allowed me to contribute my skills and expertise towards a worthy cause, and to work collaboratively with a diverse group of individuals to achieve our shared goals.
My leadership journey has taken many unexpected turns over the years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was fortunate enough to directly work with Claire and Megan as my bosses during my time as a director. I observed and learned from the strategic thought process and “hands on” mentality of the duo. The founders created a culture of flat hierarchy in the organisation leading to growth opportunities and great office relationships. This fascinated me a lot considering the amount of work we got done as this was a bit of a deviation from what I had been exposed to at the time. I can say that these leadership lessons have shaped my mindset around leadership and has fundamentally changed the trajectory of my life and career. I am also constantly inspired by the resilience and dedication of the individuals and organizations that we work with. Despite the challenges that they may face (particularly during the height of COVID-19), they remain committed to their missions and are always seeking ways to improve and grow.
At MTW, we see ourselves more as Sailboats as opposed to speedboats. We focus more on long term sustainable impact and less of short-lived effect. Being a sailboat challenges us to avoid chasing after shiny objects but trusting in the cumulating power of baby steps over time.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a charity trustee is seeing the impact of our work first- hand. Whether it’s through providing support and resources in the communities we work in, promoting awareness of important issues, or facilitating meaningful change within our communities, the work that we do as trustees has the power to make a real difference in peoples lives.
It has been a significant development opportunity for me. I think most people think about
Trusteeships as an opportunity to give back, and it certainly is that, but it is a practical process, you learn by doing it and the skills and competencies you develop as a result, in my opinion rival any development training I could have been offered.
Overall, serving as a charity trustee has been a truly fulfilling experience, and I would encourage anyone who is passionate about making a positive impact in their community to consider getting involved in this meaningful work.
I first became aware of Move the World in 2017 when I was living in Ghana and working as Executive Director for a locally-founded NGO, when Claire Hardy (MTW MD) came to visit our programme. On my return to the UK in 2018, I was honoured and a little bemused to be asked to join the Board of Trustees. I had never been a Trustee before and felt that it was way beyond my realm of experience, knowledge, expertise or wisdom – the recent role in Ghana had been my first real exposure to the charity sector and surely Trustees are wise old owls who know everything! I professed my lack of suitability for the role and was invited along for the ride anyway. And I’m so glad I was. It has been incredible watching the core team in the UK and Ghana grow and develop not only their mission, vision, impact and team but each of themselves and each other along the way. The charity has grown from wanting to do “something” to knowing exactly the impact they want to and can make and clarifying the message they are sharing with the board, supporters, corporations and funding bodies. I have witnessed the realisation that our impact is not only our primary beneficiaries – the children in our programmes – but the facilitators, the teachers, siblings, extended families, the schools, the communities at large, our board of trustees and those supporting our journey along the way.
As for me, personally, working with Move the World has shown that there is a better way to lead a team and still be productive and performance-led. Working in and with a charity is hard work, as in any business. The relentless drive for funding is similar to the relentless search for new business, except there are fewer options and many more charities all applying for the same limited funding. Retaining humanity as the bedrock for all conversations, decisions and programming is the single most valuable ingredient to the success of Move the World and I am so proud to have been part of that over the last few years. Because of this, we have navigated the clarification of our mission and vision, the launch of our two flagship programmes, a global pandemic and subsequent financial challenges; all of which we have met head on with determination, love and whenever possible deep joy and friendship!
You get out of being a Trustee what you put into it, as with much in life. For me, I joined as a Trustee (scared that I wouldn’t bring any value) and quickly became the one nagging for financial visibility and clarity so I was asked to become Treasurer to provide a clear focus particularly through the pandemic. I have provided maternity cover for our then Chair of Trustees, Megan Taylor, (twice) and am now honoured to be stepping into the role of Chair of Trustees as Megan moves on to embrace her next set of adventures. It’s a tough act to follow and I’m eager to continue learning every day from this fantastic collection of people – all the way from our beneficiaries to my fellow colleagues on the Board of Trustees.
When we incorporated Move The World as a charity back in 2016, we made the decision that I would act as Chair of Trustees, and whilst I had been operating in this guise for quite a few years, supporting the oversight and strategic direction of the organisation, I had never been an official Trustee before – so it has been an amazing learning journey. The last 6 years have taught me a lot about the charity sector, in particular the relentless nature of fundraising that is required to keep the work and impact of a small charity going. As in any kind of leadership role, you get over one hurdle, and there’s another one coming up very quickly behind it! This has taught me a lot about resilience, and has also reminded me to have hope, always.
We have faced some really challenging times from key people moving on, immense fundraising pressures, and oh yes, a global pandemic where all our partner schools shut and we had to pivot overnight! And yet the thing I’m proudest of is that through it all, we have always persisted, and cared for each other as much as possible in the process. There have been so many moments of light heartedness and joy too that have had a big impact on me. From all of the trips to Ghana, dancing (in the rain) and learning with the amazing people that do the work on a day to day basis. Also the annual Christmas video, and the very many days spent with the team getting stuck into the work alongside a bowl of guacamole (a MTW favourite). I will be truly grateful for everything this opportunity has taught me; and I hope I can take these lessons in to many future endeavours to come!