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Trustee truths: Chinelo Nnadi

Chinelo Nnadi is a trustee at Springfield Advice and Law Centre and is the Co-Chair of BMA Medical Students Committee

Chinelo Nnadi is in her final year of medical school and found out about trusteeship by attending a Getting on Board’s Trustee Fair at King’s College London where she studies. Here are her trustee truths.

My board experience has given me the freedom to challenge the status quo

Before I would say: ‘I don’t have the experience or the knowledge,’ but now I have the confidence to argue for my perspective. Sometimes you do win your point! 

I always felt being a trustee was for someone who has a lot of experience and knowledge and that it wasn’t accessible to me

When I attended the Trustee Fair and listened to a couple of different organisations and heard what they did, like working on committees or discussing funding strategies, I realised it was nothing that was beyond my capability.

Lots of the ideas I’d had volunteering were applicable to my work as a trustee

I volunteered at a community centre before I found trusteeship. I used to come in to deliver activities and get frustrated because I wasn’t able to help with the logistical problems. Now being a trustee I’m able to make decisions that address problems at infrastructure level.

Being a trustee has given me a greater awareness of how decisions are made at my university

When I’m criticising specific things on my medical course, from a management level I can appreciate the different considerations and commitments that exist like the financial implications of a specific decision and the logistical difficulties around scheduling exams for example.

My ideas about what I want from my career has developed since I’ve been a trustee  

It has made me more interested in leadership and made me realise my voice is important in shaping the kind of work environment I want to work in. 

When I graduate I’ll take all of that trustee knowledge with me - not just my degree

In terms of employability those are the skills you need that go beyond the academic achievement.

Charities can sometimes put off aspiring trustees if their recruitment process is overly formalised early on

The charity I joined made it clear that the most important quality in candidates was people who cared and that were enthusiastic. At the interview, it was really like, ‘We're a charity. This is what we do. We'd really appreciate some support in helping us do that.’ My first interactions were conversations, then I was invited to observe a trustee meeting with three or four others. Only then did I get to the formal process of sending an application.

If charities don’t go looking for the marginalised voices  you’re not going to find them

If you're looking for young people and you only go into universities you are only going to find a certain type of young person. Other organisations like local councils and young carer networks will have groups of young people who are known to them and are all potentially other areas to target.

Being part of decision making has made me more reasonable but also more firm in my expectations

I know change is possible, it just takes work.

Find out more about how we work with organisations to help their employees become trustees here.

If you're interested in becoming a trustee yourself join one of our free Trustee Learning Programme session for guidance, community and support.

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