Fozia Haider's story
An aspiring trustee who wanted to learn the principles of good governance
“Our local council gave us the plot of land. Seven women turned up with umbrellas to start digging in the downpour.” remembers Fozia Haider, speaking about the mental health and gardening project she initiated with the McPin Foundation and Mind. "
“I’d listened to a Monty Don interview on the school run and that was the light bulb moment,” she says. “The project was with elderly women who are refugees and had experienced domestic violence. What we achieved allowed them to grow things like they’d done back at home and build a sense of community and increased wellbeing.”
Fozia is a one woman whirlwind. She’s decorated a community centre single handed, organised Diwali and Eid parties for service users and then invited bigwigs across the borough to get their buy-in to future projects.
“We had a dozen women sitting together doing a watercolour painting. It was so vibrant.” she says.
Fozia has never been short of community spirit either as a volunteer worker or a charity manager but she knew she had even more to offer.
“I wanted to become a trustee and to make an impact,’ Fozia says.
However, following a challenging work experience she felt she needed some help to make the transition.
She found the Getting on Board Charity Board Leadership Programme from a Twitter recommendation and it seemed tailor-made for her ambitions.
“My charity manager’s job was a very difficult position; there was so much discord: no planning and a general lack of communication between the CEO and the board.
I left, but my confidence had taken a knock after that experience. I’d started to doubt myself and imposter syndrome had kicked in. I wanted to be reassured on what good governance actually was and looked like.”
“When I did the Charity Board Leadership Programme amazing things happened,” she says.
“The course content was great; well structured. It was facilitated really well and the speakers were really, really good.
As a delegate you’re assigned a Getting on Board coach for ongoing support and there’s a drop box full of resources to help you when you’re making applications. And I met lovely, lovely people on the programme and I’m still in touch with them. ”
The course was everything she wanted.
“It would have been easy to walk away from the sector after that bad experience. But it helped me turn that negative time into something positive,” she asserts.
“The programme definitely opened doors. I’m hoping to start my first trustee role next month!”