12 May 2022
With applications now open to become an RCSLT trustee or committee member, current trustee Angela Shimada tells us about her journey to the role, what being on the Board is really like, and encourages members to consider applying.
What first led you to apply to become a trustee?
Being a member of the RCSLT, I felt that I would like to become more involved. I wanted to extend my experience of being on a Board, which can be hard as an SLT and AHP. I really enjoy being able to influence strategic direction and this seemed to be a good opportunity.
Before applying, what were you most hesitant about and how did you overcome any concerns you had?
I wasn’t sure if I was too young (something that my younger colleagues assure me I am not!) and I didn’t think I was in an “important enough” job (not a professor or consultant SLT) but that really isn’t the role of a trustee. I was worried about my level of understanding of finances. I sought out the chair at the time, Dr Della Money, to talk through these concerns and she was able to reassure me and explore the role so I was able to make an informed choice about applying.
How did you find the application process?
The application process was quite straightforward. There were some questions which made me wonder whether I would even get to interview, but I just went for it! The application process has changed since I applied and we have made it more accessible for applicants so it shouldn’t put people off. As a trustee and a leadership mentor for RCSLT I would be really open to sharing my experiences and supporting others with the process if needed.
What do you feel you bring to the role – either from your personal or professional life?
I think because I have such a varied role as a senior AHP leader in a provider, have been an infant school governor, and have worked as an Integrated Care System AHP chair, I have been able to provide a different flavour to the Board. Every trustee brings something different and while I was concerned that I wasn’t a highly specialist SLT, I am able to bring my experience of being a senior AHP and bring learning from other professions into the Board.
I have been able to bring my own experiences from the relationship in my mixed marriage and my own learning in equality, diversity and inclusion as an ally, to promote the inclusive and positive action that we are taking as a Board. This is something that I am really proud of. While I am on my own learning journey, I feel that my voice on the Board has supported and made a difference. The role of trustees is so important and I really believe in ensuring we have a diverse Board that represents all our members.
How have you benefited from becoming a trustee and what have you learnt while being one?
Making links and networks. Relationships are so important on the Board and it’s been great to be in a space where we are learning and working together. I’ve learnt loads about finance! There is a lot of support available and I have been able to ask questions all along the way. The chairs (both Della and Mary) have been really supportive. There are appraisals and one-to-ones to support me in my role as a trustee. I have also expanded my understanding of how a Board works which has supported my own leadership development and career progression.
Can you tell us a little bit about what happens in a typical Board meeting?
A typical meeting starts with a member’s story – this is a fantastic opportunity to learn about our members and it really grounds the conversations for the rest of the session. During the meeting there are a number of standard items which come in at different times of the year which are presented by executives with an opportunity for trustees to ask questions and provide comments. There are outside speakers from our auditors on occasion and this is really interesting in understanding the Board governance and process. There are often break out sessions where we look at specific elements, for example, discussing, influencing and driving the strategic plan for the organisation.
What would you say to others considering applying for a trustee or committee role?
It’s great for your own personal development as well as a great way to contribute to our membership body. If you are interested, please email email@example.com to speak with a current trustee who can talk to you about any of your concerns or questions.
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Angela Shimada is deputy director of AHPs and operations at Lincolnshire Community Health Services. Follow Angela on Twitter at @shimada_angela.