Monday 7 November 2016

Trustees' Week - 7-13 November 2016

It's Trustees' Week! 

Trustees are the people in charge of a charity. They play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s work. For Trustees' week, we wanted to find out more about how our trustees' came across SATRO and why they decided to volunteer...see below for what they had to say! 

Ian Revill - Ian is a Chartered Accountant and after training with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, spent 29 years with ICI in Executive finance roles, both in the UK and abroad. His roles there included that of Corporate Treasurer, the Global Finance Director of operating divisions and Group Vice President responsible for Finance Excellence. More recently (2007-09) he was the Finance Director of a UK Government owned company, the Forensic Science Service, where he had Board responsibility for a wide range of corporate support services. 

Since retirement, Ian has become an active volunteer on a number of SATRO's school programmes and is also a Non-Executive Director of a large Foundation Trust Hospital. 

Janet Preston - Janet is Managing Director of Cold Fuzion, her own independent business consultancy. Janet is widely recognised by her clients for sound intellectual ability, structured well-planned approaches, attention to detail and, equally importantly, for her good humour and skills in selling her ideas. In her spare time, Janet has created a broad portfolio of voluntary activities and is Education Liaison Officer for the Institute of Directors in Surrey, a Trustee of SATRO, a member of the Surrey Board of Young Enterprise, one of the UK's largest business education charities aimed at helping young people learn about the world of work with an overriding philosophy of 'learning by doing', Chairman of the Surrey Organising Committee for TeenTech - an organisation aimed at inspiring 12 and 13 year olds to consider STEM careers.

How did you first come across SATRO and why did you decide to become a volunteer? 

I: One of the reasons I retired from work when I did was because that virtually, all my energy had been concentrated on my family, my work and walking through airports! It was time to get to know my own community.

Retirement for me did not signify the end of something, but the start of something new... I only have forward gears.

I came across the SATRO name first of all through the Guildford Volunteers website and followed up with a visit to the SATRO offices, unsure what I might be able to contribute. Quickly, this visit turned into volunteering for Business Games and Mentoring and not long after being 'collared' to be Trustee.

While not being a scientist, I had always worked in science based companies and was always on the front row in any R&D presentation. I've also always been passionate about trying to support people who are trying to realise their potential. I wasn't aware that organisations like SATRO existed but I was delighted that they did so and offering to help seemed to be a perfect fit for me and I don't regret a minute of it!

J: I first encountered SATRO in my role as Education Ambassador for the Surrey branch of the Institute of Directors. I was looking for organisations that linked the business world with schools with the aim of showcasing a portfolio of volunteering opportunities for our members. I met up with Beccy Bowden and the team and found a wealth of varied activities that I've been promoting to IoD members (and anyone else who is interested) ever since.

I decided to volunteer for various reasons really - (1) I am at the stage of my career where I want to give something back and now have the time to spare to do this and (2) I wanted to better understand the programmes and activities SATRO offers so that I can speak from first-hand experience when talking to others about what SATRO does and (3) I got hooked on the great programmes and I love to see the energy and appreciation for the students participating. I would have loved to have done something along these lines when I was still at school.

What has surprised you about being a Trustee? 

I: In the last 6 years, it's not so much as what surprised me but what knocked my socks off. Frankly, I've been amazed at the time, effort and even money that so many people have been willing to give in support of SATRO whether it be donors, volunteers or staff...even more importantly, I've seen plenty of occasions that with support and encouragement, the young can do amazing things.

J: How very sensible and sensitive everyone is to the fact that we are spending donations from private individuals and companies who want us to do the right thing with their money and their time.

Have you learnt anything from the volunteering you have done with SATRO?

I: Simple answer...boodles...about myself, about the work we do and the people who commit themselves to making it happen.

It has also confirmed to met yet again that organisations (and people for that matter) cannot stand still, have a divine right to continue existing or become self-serving. They cannot sit on their laurels while the world around them is changing rapidly; they must earn their reputation to adapt and remain relevant to their stakeholders. I've been proud to have worked with a CEO and fellow trustees who have always been willing to embrace change and challenge and not to behave 'preciously' in the process.

J: I've made numerous new contacts through the networking that takes place among the volunteers at SATRO events. I've learnt how hard teachers work to put on these events for their students or bring them to events. I thought that it was mainly financial constraints that stopped schools from attending events but have learnt that in many cases, it's actually not having sufficient staffing resources in schools that stops them.

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