Sean Moynihan on our Premium Board search service
ALONE like many charities have been on a journey of development in the area of good governance. Boardmatch have supported us and been one of our guides on this journey over the last 5 years. As a growing national charity which is determined to the respond to the growing and changing needs of older people.
It became apparent we needed to bring in specific skills at the highest level to lead the whole organisation. Prior to our engagement with Boardmatch appointments were less strategic. The professional staff of Board match helped us to identify our strengths and gaps at Board level. They then sourced for us new independent board members these candidates not only have the skills we required, they are motivated by our cause and finally Boardmatch made sure there was a perfect fit with our culture. I would personally strongly recommend the services to Boardmatch and the obvious skills and passion of their staff.
John Farrell on our Leadership Development Programme
I’m the Commercial Director with AA Ireland. I decided to join the board of a charity as I was keen to give something back while also expanding my circle of contacts.I joined Stepping Stone in 2013 as a non-executive director. At the start of 2014 I took on the role of Chairman.
I’ve found it a very worthwhile experience. I’ve found myself getting more involved than expected as I quickly realised there is a real opportunity to make a difference. Homelessness is at crisis level currently so our efforts are required more than ever. I’ve found that the workings and challenges of the Stepping Stone board are similar to a commercial company’s board in many ways. We have different disciplines present and strong views are aired. We have budget challenges and legal requirements. However what’s very different is that we are dealing with real people who urgently need our help.
From a personal viewpoint, while it takes up some time, I feel my involvement has given me a real sense of fulfillment. You definitely feel you are bringing your skills to genuine use. And, as chairman, I have needed to be definite and determined in representing the charity’s agenda. You naturally get to know people from different walks of life you might not otherwise encounter. This is a real benefit of joining a charity board. It helps you learn to see things from a different perspective.
Glynnis Hobson on our Leadership Development Programme
I joined the board of Start 360 a year ago and have had great benefit from my involvement with them. I picked Start 360 because when I met the CEO Anne-Marie McClure we hit it off and I felt that I could add value for them and would learn from her. I have a long-term goal to do more work in that sector and felt that this would be a good stepping stone for me.
I really wanted to open my mind and alter my perspective as they work with people on the edge of society. It has been a brilliant experience to date. Our board is very diverse and everyone brings a different perspective. At the start it took me a while to learn about the organisation and how it worked but I have thoroughly involved attending events and meeting the staff and clients.
I have learnt lots about myself and about the sector and I feel that I’ve been able to use my connections at work and skills to add value to Start 360 without it absorbing too much of my time. The biggest difference for me has been in my perspective which I feel is now much broader. It has been of value to the bank as well as I’ve been able to support their work in the not for profit sector. I would encourage others to take the plunge, the more effort you make the more benefit you’ll take from the experience.
Linda Power on our Leadership Development Programme
I joined the Board of Women’s Aid in the summer of 2014 and it has been a very fulfilling experience to date. In addition to stretching my business skills, working with Women’s Aid has given me the opportunity to learn entirely new skills.
Our board meets quite frequently and there are sub-committee meetings too so I would recommend anyone joining a board researches the time commitment involved. I suggest you think about the time required to prepare for and attend meetings as the greater your involvement, the better your experience will be. In addition to these formal interactions there are lots of other opportunities for Directors to engage and support the staff, volunteers and service users. These include fundraising events, awareness raising campaigns, conferences etc.
It’s truly humbling to sit around a table with my fellow directors at Women’s Aid, women who have deep expertise in the field of Domestic Violence and Gender Based Violence. Although I don’t have sector expertise, my role is to bring another perspective to discussions and ensure we have a well-balanced and diverse board. Ultimately this ensures we make the best possible decisions for the service and the women we support.
Barry Rojack on our Leadership Development Programme
Joining a NFP board through boardmatch was easily one of the best things I have ever done. Working at the top table for a large organisation has provided useful insights to both my everyday work, career path and even my everyday life. The extra responsibility in terms of both time spent working on it, and the consequences of decisions and actions taken, has been a little more than I expected, but this is easily counterweighted by the personal and professional satisfaction of seeing the benefits of that hard work accruing. Time management, interpersonal skills, and getting to the crux of the matter to resolve difficult situations in a productive way, are real “sink or swim” skills which are tested to the maximum in a senior board role.
I have also gained a useful insight into the challenges facing those in the charitable sector, and the different dynamics in particular that are at play in a large charitable organisation where the predominant motivating factor is doing the right thing rather than earning money – everyone has a different perspective on what doing the right thing means to them! Working in the NFP role has probably helped me put more useful perspective into some of my own daily life and working life decision making, and has helped bolster my confidence and practical experience to take on a more senior role in my own organisation.
I have received good feedback from the board that my experience I have brought to the table has been beneficial, and I would recommend in a heartbeat anyone in a similar position to myself taking up a similar role through board match where it is mutually suitable.Barry Rojack
Maurice Kelly on our Leadership Development Programme
I first connected with Boardmatch in late 2015. I have always fundraised individually for various events but wanted to get involved in the charitable sector in a more consistent way. It was something I had been thinking about for a while and decided it was something I wanted to create time for – time being the main factor restricting me prior to this. In April 2016, Boardmatch connected me with a charity local to where I live and I have been an active member of the board of Sensational Kids since June 2016.
After an initial period of getting to understand the work of the charity, combined with understanding my responsibilities as a Board Member, the work of the board is well organised around a formal monthly meeting. Boardmatch also facilitated training for me around the statutory responsibilities of a Board Member and now I’m finding that the time commitment, whilst regular, is not too much of a burden.
The work of the board is very focused around enhancing the operational governance of the charity, working with the CEO to agree a 5-year roadmap for the charity and building a strong fundraising platform. I work as a Senior HR Director with a large multinational company and find that I can bring to the board a range of relevant experience from business planning, resource planning and compliance. Personally, it’s been a great learning experience so far and there is great satisfaction in seeing the results and impact of the work of the charity which provides essential services for children with learning and behavioural challenges.Maurice Kelly
Q & A with Tom Brady on our Free Online Matching Service
Prior to using Boardmatch how had you recruited new board members?
Previously we used word of mouth and advertised in our offices and on our website. It proved successful but the calibre of candidates coming from Boardmatch has been of the highest standards and we will use this as our main recruiting tool going forward.
Were there limitations with this method?
We continue to be bound by legislation which places geographical limits on where we can attract volunteers from regardless of the medium we use. Boardmatch contains some useful area/address filtering which we have utilised in this regard.
How did you learn about Boardmatch?
We came across it when we were looking to cast our volunteer recruitment nets wider a few years ago.
Has the relationship with Boardmatch been beneficial/professional/objective/other?
Very much so; the new members of our Board have brought extensive experience and expertise to the role, thereby improving our Governance standards and the service we can offer to the communities.
Avril McDermott on her experience of being placed as a board member
Cluid develops and manages social housing for those on low incomes and has a large portfolio of 5000+ properties. Cluid Board Members come from diverse backgrounds, and I’ve found that every contribution is welcome and this in turn broadens the discussion. Understanding the controls for governance and the strategies required for growth is quite complicated, so you need to prepare well by reading all the material available, which is now accessed on-line v hard copy. It’s no easy ride, this is a professional organisation making a real impact and as a Board Member you need to be committed to give of your best. As a new member of Cluid Housing I’m still learning the ropes and definitely moving outside my comfort zone! I’d highly recommend the experience of NFP to both stretch yourself and to gain experience in a different business sector.Avril McDermott
Helen Kelly on our Leadership Development Programme
Joining a Not For Profit (NFP) Board has been a hugely positive experience for me. This was always about giving myself a new challenge, gaining experience outside Barclays and giving something back to our society.
I’m not sure what I expected at the outset, but I knew there would be a lot of learning and that has proved to be the case. Almost 2 years in I am still learning about some of the services Barnardos provides to children and parents, about how Barnardos interacts with service provision from the State, and also about the charitable sector in Ireland including basic terminology e.g. the difference between ‘impact’ and ‘reach’ which is essentially the key difference between Barnardos and the ISPCC.
Since joining Barnardos, I am also getting the chance to put my Institute of Directors (IoD) training into practice. A key role of any Board is to assess Risk and at our February Board meeting for example the Board went through our Risk Register. That’s text book learning from the IoD but it is really interesting to see how probability and the likely impact of risk are evaluated in a different organisation and how that impacts decision making.
I am also getting to meet new people whom I haven’t come across before. Fergus has a fantastic executive leadership team around him – all women and all very different. That’s unusual in the Corporate and Banking worlds. Also the Board is very diverse. There is a great mix of child care professionals, academia and business people with public and private sector backgrounds, and we are all hopefully contributing to the journey towards good governance but also managing the challenges. The biggest challenge for me and our other Board members is the prioritisation of Barnardos resources particularly our voluntary funds because there are many worthy projects. On a personal level, I was delighted to be able to run the Dublin Marathon recently for Barnardos and raised over €11,000.
From a professional capacity, I am very fortunate that Barclays strongly supports my getting involved in the charity sector as an important contribution towards our own Citizenship Agenda. Barclays funded my original introduction to Barnardos via Boardmatch and I attend all of my Board and Audit Committee meetings during the working week. Clearly that means keeping on top of the day job in my own time – likewise for meeting preparation which I normally do at the weekend. Hopefully also Barclays is benefitting from my wider experience and indeed I believe this was a contributory factor in my recently been asked to take on wider role in Barclays in Ireland.
But by far the greatest personal benefit to being on the Barnardos Board is about keeping me grounded. In order to understand what Barnardos do, I have been to see several projects and programmes in practice since joining. I have met lots of very vulnerable children and their parents and you can’t help feeling impacted by their situations. Even if you just read some of the stories on the Barnardos web site, bill boards or in their latest Annual Report – you would come away like I do; feeling very, very lucky. I also feel very touched by the dedication of the Barnardos employees and how much they care about making a difference. That really helps me balance my priorities when I get back to the office.