Volunteers' Week: Our Board of Trustees
Playing a crucial role at the heart of The Advocacy People and acting as a critical friend to the senior leadership team is the volunteer Board of Trustees.
The nine members of the Board are drawn from a broad range of professional backgrounds, and together they represent a vast wealth of knowledge that can be brought to bear in steering the charity forward: their expertise includes, but isn’t limited to law, internal governance and audit, strategic business development, project management, social impact, communications, and human resources.
Many of them say that they volunteer because advocacy, as a purpose, is something they believe in: they also have a passion to see both people and organisations thrive and be the best they can be.
Ralu Nistor Lustermans joined The Advocacy People’s Board in 2021. Having held various roles in global organisations, her specialist area is internal audit and governance and she is also a business coach, mental health first-aider and an advocate of wellbeing at work.
Ralu says: “I was looking for an opportunity to join the not-for-profit sector, and to contribute my knowledge and skills to a cause that resonated with me.
“In talking to staff at The Advocacy People, I saw the connection that people have with a bigger purpose, and I wanted to join.
“It has been mind-blowing for me to understand all the skills and all the services staff are delivering for those who need someone to help them speak their minds when they cannot do so.
“It gives me a sense a fulfilment to contribute to a cause which connects with me.
“Furthermore, using my skills and knowledge in a sector which is new to me helps me to discover new perspectives and join the dots in a different way.”
Ralu speaks further about her experiences as a volunteer Board member in this video.
CEO at The Advocacy People, Matthew Hilton, says: “When we talk about volunteering, I sometimes feel that we forget that the trustees on our board are of course themselves volunteers.
“Here at The Advocacy People, I feel very fortunate to have a board that is engaged, supportive and diverse enough to bring different points of view to the crucial things we discuss: culture, strategy and the various dimensions of organisational sustainability.
“It is hugely valuable to me to have a board bringing to the table so much experience from other walks of life - like finance, education, law and business, as well as from the charity sector itself.
“For me as CEO, I also get real value from talking to a group of critical friends whose role it is to make me be as clear as possible about how I see things and what I want to do. This means that, at times, the conversations between CEO and board can get a bit uncomfortable, so having trustful, honest relationships in place between us all is essential.
“The board of The Advocacy People volunteer to do what they do; and they are fundamental to us getting things right overall. I am hugely grateful to them all.”