CharityComms trustee election 2015

Our 2015 trustee election is now closed.

Please vote for ONE of the 13 following candidates from our organisational membership body and ONE of the four candidates who will represent our individual members. You should cast TWO votes in all.

Each candidate has put forward their arguments to secure your vote under four headings: their professional experience, their motivation for standing as a CharityComms trustee, the personal qualities and experience they will bring to the board and their vision for CharityComms’ future.

CharityComms members can vote for the candidates they feel have the relevant experience in both comms and the charity sector to understand the challenges and opportunities facing charity communicators, and who they believe can help us shape CharityComms’ services to meet these.

While election to the trustee board is open to all individual and organisational members of CharityComms, our current trustees feel representatives from the following groups would be particularly welcome to the board at this time:

  • Individuals from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
  • Individuals who are under 30 years old
  • Directors of communications (or equivalent) from large UK charities

Please note that all CharityComms members are eligible to vote in this election – including anyone working at an organisational member charity, all individual members and corporate partners. If you have any problems registering your vote, please contact tom@charitycomms.org.uk

Our candidates are: (click their name for further information and vote here before 5pm Friday 20 February).

Organisational members: please choose one

  • Michael Bourke, communications and membership officer, Irish in Britain
  • Eleanor Bullimore, campaign mobilisation manager (communities), Save the Children
  • Lara Burns, head of digital, Age UK
  • Maria Coyle, information editor, The Children’s Trust
  • Lisa Day, head of communications strategy, resources & projects, Diabetes UK
  • Jane Harris, director of external affairs and social change, National Autistic Society
  • Claire Monks, interim head of regional external affairs, Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Louise Ogden, communications manager, British Science Association
  • Suzanne Stevenson, head of press, Hospice UK
  • Dave Titmas, communications and marketing manager, Carers UK
  • Adeela Warley, head of communications & experience, Friends of the Earth
  • Matthew Wilk, head of marketing and communications, Centrepoint
  • Jo Walters, communications manager, University of Sussex Students’ Union

Individual members: please choose one

Organisational members

Michael Bourke, communications and membership officer, Irish in Britain

Professional experience

I have a broad experience of working in a PR role for a national tourism marketing agency, as a policy officer for the Irish EU Presidency, as a project manager for a small educational charity in south London and my current role as a membership and communications officer for a national BME representative charity. My education includes a BA in European Studies and an MA in European Integration from the University of Limerick and a PG Diploma in International Business Development from DIT. My voluntary experience includes Ireland’s Marriage Equality Campaign and migrants’ rights groups in Ireland and Denmark.

Motivations

I have always volunteered my time in different ways but after moving to the UK almost two years ago I have not found a suitable way to do so in a complimentary role that fitted my skills and schedule. As a relatively new member of CharityComms I was very impressed when I attended your AGM last year after an enlightening event and was hoping to find a way to become more involved. Having previous positive experience of sitting on a board, a varied skillset and a desire to meet other likeminded professionals has pushed me to apply.

Personal qualities and experience

I am a warm and enthusiastic communicator who becomes passionate about issues and inspires others into action. For me, this should be a central skill for anyone is a position of leadership. I have a well-rounded education which lends itself to strategic vision; and I have experience of negotiation at an international level. I am part of Britain’s oldest and least catered for ethnic minority – the Irish – and have just turned 30. My previous experiences as president of my postgraduate Students Union and volunteering with a gay rights campaign have given me a diverse experience of leadership in the nfp sector.

Vision for CharityComms

Charity communications professionals know that the often lauded recovery is far from visible on the ground and despite often worsening conditions for many, the situation may deteriorate further. As communicators we must empower our organisations to speak up and highlight their needs in the face of uncertain futures. Advances in technology are placing communications at the centre of all activities of organisations; and for my vision I see CharityComms at the forefront of this change. By connecting CharityComms members we can pool knowledge and resources to benefit us all. We can set best practice and lead our sector to success.

Vote for Michael.

Eleanor Bullimore, campaign mobilisation manager (communities), Save the Children

Professional experience

As a politics graduate I worked for an MP as a constituency caseworker and experienced first-hand the opportunities and limitations of ordinary citizens seeking to engage in the political process. From there I went to a communications consultancy which specialised in helping private and public organisations to connect with and engage communities. I have now been in third sector organisations as a campaigner for the last seven years, where I have specialised in community building and empowering beneficiaries to speak for themselves.

Motivations

I have benefitted hugely myself from CharityComms, and am a great admirer of the work you do in the sector. I’m keen to be more involved in your work, and also to potentially contribute to your good work by lending the experience and knowledge I have accrued throughout my career. I see this as an excellent opportunity both for my own personal development, and as a way to give back to the sector which has given me so many opportunities.

Personal qualities and experience

I bring my own experience of working with diverse communities, and a unique perspective on the role of the sector. I am passionately committed to creating platforms that allow people to speak for themselves, and believe third sector organisations should be about empowering and enabling people to speak for themselves, rather than speaking on behalf of their audiences and beneficiaries. Too often I think organisations place themselves in the role of broadcaster, rather than channel. I am keen to see the sector develop its ‘soft’ skills and become better at enabling and communicating an empowering agenda.

Vision for CharityComms

I am really keen to see CharityComms take an ever increasing role in shaping the charity sector. Through training and sharing best practice, CharityComms is already an inspiration and a key tool for professionals (including myself). I think you could go one step further towards defining and embedding values, as well as best practice principles. I would like to see more emphasis on internal stakeholders and empowering members to feel that even at officer level there are opportunities to shape strategy and direction – particularly in the large, old fashioned organisations which often feel too stuck in the past model of benevolent societies.

Vote for Eleanor.

Lara Burns, head of digital, Age UK

Professional experience

I have worked in ‘digital comms’ for over 20 years, though it wasn’t called that then! I started my career working on searchable full text poetry CD-ROMs. I have a huge breadth of experience, having worked in charities, government, corporates and digital agencies. I have found that creating digital projects often means affecting cultural or organisational change too, which is as exciting as it is challenging. I am a project manager at heart, and am fundamentally motivated by taking action and making changes happen, even when they’re difficult.

Motivations

I’d like to support CharityComms in using my experience to help shape a world where we are all moving to being truly ‘digital first’. Using my digital skills and experience to work for a charity like Age UK is a hugely motivating way to get myself out of bed in the morning. I’d like to see how I can use those skills to contribute to the broader charity sector. I have attended several great CharityComms events in the last year, as well as acting as a CharityComms mentor, and I’d like to get more involved.

Personal qualities and experience

I have always been passionate about how digital mixes fantastically engaging content with tools and interactive functionality. The ability to analyse how a user interacts with what you create and to continually improve what you do, is a potent although sometimes alarming tool. At the RHS I led the digital strategy and web rebrand and developed three mobile apps. At Age UK, I am leading our digital transformation strategy, integrating the digital team’s work with marketing, fundraising, commerce, campaigning, information and front-line delivery services. I am a tenacious problem solver, dedicated to working effectively with everyone that I meet.

Vision for CharityComms

To bring together the learning and experience of so many passionate and motivated people so that we can all do our jobs better, achieving better results for our beneficiaries. To support all charities as they affect ‘digital transformation’. I am especially keen to support, inspire and motivate those who are at early stages of their careers in the sector.

Vote for Lara.

Maria Coyle, information editor, The Children’s Trust

Professional experience

  • The Children’s Trust (2012-current) – Since joining my role has developed from press officer & internal communications to editor of the Information Service. As well as overseeing an information website (Brain Injury Hub), this involves working with a research team and users of our charity to produce brain injury resources. I continue to play a key role in increasing press coverage and awareness of the charity and am involved in maintaining celebrity/VIP relationships.
  • Director and press officer of Lions Club (2013 – current)
  • Journalist (local) (2012-2014)
  • Community support worker for Breakthru (2007-2008
  • Together for Short Lives Comms Forum member

Motivations

I have wanted to use my skills in communications to contribute to the role of a trustee or board member for some time; to share ideas and fundamentally play a part in the future of CharityComms in helping charities achieve their goals through successful communication. CharityComms has been a continued source of guidance for me so becoming an active contributor would be fulfilling. I have recently enlisted the help of a trustee in my organisation to undertake the auditing of the information service. His experience and input has been invaluable and has in turn has motivated me to use my skills in a similar way.

Personal qualities and experience

I have been involved in the communications plans for key changes within our organisation. Most of these have been successful; some have proved a huge learning curve. I can share communications mistakes to help other organisations. I am willing to deliver the commitment and time needed to become a trustee. I am passionate about the vital role communications plays in the charity sector but feel it is often overlooked by others in an organisation. My colleagues and I have worked successfully within our organisation to help all departments understand and appreciate what we do. This has helped us develop and improve our communications strategy and so I want to share our ideas and help others do the same. I am 28 years old.

Vision for CharityComms

  • Continue to provide up-to-date practical advice and news for professionals in the sector and encourage innovative ideas and strategies
  • Developing first-class training and networking opportunities for all levels of roles and all sizes of charities
  • Being the go-to membership organisation for charities seeking advice on their communications plans
  • Share best practice and encourage even more membership
  • Champion the role of communications in the charity sector and by improving the standard, gaining it more respect
  • Empowering communications teams across the county to increase awareness of their charity’s cause

Vote for Maria.

Lisa Day, head of communications strategy, resources & projects, Diabetes UK

Professional experience

  • A charity communicator since 2002, currently responsible for developing communications strategy, performance monitoring across functions, and professional development at Diabetes UK.
  • Broad experience spanning editorial, creative, PR, marketing, brand, insight and stakeholder relations, so I understand the importance of integrated communications in increasing influence and impact.
  • Senior roles in UK and international charities, so I know what is needed to make communications work globally and locally.
  • Identified by PRWeek as having the potential to be a leader of a major agency or in-house department and chosen for its 2014 Mentoring Project to tackle the lack of female communications leaders.

Motivations

I really admire the way CharityComms addressed a gap by bringing people together to give support and improve standards. Inclusive and encompassing the many things working in charity communications means, it has championed the value of our profession, helping us to better support our charities in being the difference they want to see in the world. All this makes me want to be a part of CharityComms’ future, and to have a role in helping it increase awareness of the value of communications, and to develop our talented people.

Personal qualities and experience

Energy, commitment, dynamism and vision, together with conviction that our work is every bit as effective as – and very often better than – communications in other sectors. We often have to work smarter to reach and engage people, which makes us versatile and innovative. All of this deserves recognition, inside and outside of our charities. I also have a senior management role in a large UK charity and I’d bring perspective and experience, gained throughout my career, of the diverse nature of charity communications and of overcoming the common challenges we face around budget, perceptions of value, integration and prioritisation.

Vision for CharityComms

CharityComms already does a brilliant job of giving those of us working in charity communications the help we need to make the best impact for our causes. We know strategic, integrated communications helps charities achieve their goals faster, but not everyone recognises its value. My vision is for CharityComms to inspire a united response to this challenge by driving forward the narrative, evidence and tools to successfully help charities influence their boards and CEOs. I’d also love CharityComms to explore the idea of a flagship cross-charity initiative to help develop and keep talented communications professionals in our sector.

Vote for Lisa.

Jane Harris, director of external affairs and social change, National Autistic Society

Professional experience

I’ve worked in charities for a decade: at Rethink Mental Illness, Leonard Cheshire Disability and now the National Autistic Society. My roles have covered media, digital, publications, events, membership and brand as well as policy, public affairs, campaigns and volunteering – with some fundraising along the way. I’ve worked in teams of less than 10 and more than 50 and as part of cross-organisational alliances like the award-winning Time to Change campaign and the Mental Health Alliance. I’ve got diplomas in PR and marketing and last year led a team to win the CIPR Media Relations award.

Motivations

I love charities and the impact great charity communications can have, whether in repositioning organisations, raising public awareness of difficult issues, boosting fundraising and campaigning or helping staff and supporter engagement. I’ve also really valued the help I and my teams have had from CharityComms – from events, networking and research. As a result, I want to see the organisation go from strength to strength and I see this role as a way to pass on my experience and passion and do my bit to help CharityComms and its members flourish in the future.

Personal qualities and experience

I’ve been told people like my enthusiasm, determination, creativity and focus on results. Because I’ve worked in a number of different professional areas, I’m able to build bridges between comms and other disciplines, particularly fundraising and campaigning, which seems important for the future of the profession. Currently I’m a director at a large charity – the National Autistic Society, which has a £90m turnover and over 3,000 staff. My experience of partnership working means I’m good at working with other people and organisations, so I think could work well alongside other trustees and engage with individual and organisational members.

Vision for CharityComms

First, helping members stay up to date in a fast moving field, on topics like digital innovation, big data, campaign evaluation, crisis and change management and integration with fundraising. Second, keeping people inspired by seeing how other organisations are experimenting. Third, helping colleagues realise they’re not alone and building supportive networks to sustain us all in a sector that doesn’t always understand communications. And all at a price that small and large organisations see as value for money. CharityComms should be part of the reason that charity communications teams are smarter, more resilient and more successful every year.

Vote for Jane.

Claire Monks, interim head of regional external affairs, Macmillan Cancer Support

Professional experience

I have worked in charity communications for 17 years, currently leading the regional communications team at Macmillan Cancer Support, and I am passionate about ensuring excellent communications is at the heart of our activities. Whether that is rolling out a national story, learning new methods of communication or driving forward regional campaigns, I want to make sure that the team is really making a difference to people’s lives. I am also chair of Armonico Consort, a professional choir, orchestra and music education charity based in the West Midlands, with specific responsibilities for overseeing and developing its marketing and communications.

Motivations

Whilst I am convinced of the absolute necessity of excellent communications being at the heart of any charity’s activity, I think we have a long way to go before this is universally recognised. I am excited by CharityComms’ vision of making this a reality, and also by the way it is aiming to achieve this through improving standards of communication in the sector and being a champion for the profession. I personally have benefited from the excellent service provided by CharityComms and would like to use my experience of working in this area to help and support others.

Personal qualities and experience

I am a leader and strategic thinker with the ability to see the bigger picture and to use all aspects of the marketing mix to create high-impact communications. I am highly experienced in the field of charity comms but bring specific understanding of the opportunities and challenges that arise from working within a regional team rather than a head office. Whilst I currently work for a large charity I also understand the pressures that arise from being a sole communicator within a small charity through my trusteeship of Armonico Consort. This also provides me with significant experience of charity governance.

Vision for CharityComms

My vision for CharityComms is that it becomes the first point of call for continuing professional development for every charity communications professional and is recognised as the primary organisation driving up communications skills within the sector, above other professional membership bodies. I want membership of CharityComms to be seen as essential for every charity, so that we can sure that the highest possible standards are maintained across the sector and that excellent communications is seen as integral to every charity’s success.

Vote for Claire.

Louise Ogden, communications manager, British Science Association

Professional experience

I studied science at university – a subject I found truly fascinating, but which ultimately it seemed I was much better at writing about than actually doing myself. So, I retrained as a journalist, after which I freelanced for a bit. But eventually found myself working in the comms team for the British Science Association – a charity dedicated to making science a bigger part of culture and society – not just something done in the lab! I joined the BSA in December 2011, originally as web editor, but was promoted last year to communications manager.

Motivations

I feel I make a real difference in my job – whether that’s by running media training for scientists, helping volunteers develop a social media strategy, or getting a story in the press. I developed these skills by using the tools provided by CharityComms. I’m passionate about the charity sector, but it’s often difficult to compete with companies that have a lot more resources available. I believe that in order to improve charities’ communications we must share our knowledge to find out what works best for our sector. Organisations like CharityComms make that possible – and that’s something I feel I could really contribute to.

Personal qualities and experience

I’m fairly young in my career – I turn 29 this year – but in that time I’ve introduced a digital-first approach into my organisation and I’ve also been involved in centralising comms and marketing at the BSA, to change the attitude that it is something separate from the rest of my charity’s programmes. Helping other charities to put comms at the heart of their work is something I have experience in – and it’s not always an easy transition! If I were to be elected as a CharityComms trustee, I would bring my passion for centralised comms and for more digital innovation in our sector to the mix.

Vision for CharityComms

I believe the charity sector needs to continue to embrace the importance of digital communications and the impact they can have on their audiences. CharityComms will have a big role to play in helping smaller charities especially find their way in this fairly unknown landscape. I also think another focus for CharityComms in the future could be helping charities to empower their volunteers and ambassadors to communicate their charity’s vision for them. If volunteers can discuss and promote the charity’s work in an effective way, it not only benefits the charity but also gives something back to the volunteers.

Vote for Louise.

Suzanne Stevenson, head of press, Hospice UK

Professional experience

An experienced and highly versatile communications professional, with excellent written and verbal skills, I have worked in PR, journalism and communications and developed and delivered successful media and communication strategies for a diverse range of organisations. I have produced content for a variety of corporate promotional materials including: thought leadership pieces, stakeholder communications, blogs, websites and social media channels. An enthusiastic self-starter and strong team player, I am adept at producing engaging copy for different audiences, successfully targeting media outlets and building strong relationships to support key communications objectives.

Motivations

I have been an active member of CharityComms for two years and have attended many of its events including seminars, conferences and lunches for senior communications professionals. I have contributed blogs for its website and am currently using its mentoring scheme. I have volunteered for several charities in my spare time, largely in practical roles. I am looking for a strategic role that presents strong opportunities for personal and professional development. I like the fact that CharityComms has a distinctive niche and so evidently responds to the needs of its member charities by consistently producing relevant, engaging content.

Personal qualities and experience

I have longstanding experience of working in communications across very different organisations, in the public, private and voluntary sectors. I have a deep-felt passion for the charity sector and a strong understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing its communicators. I am naturally enthusiastic, an active “can do” contributor and am skilled at spotting communications opportunities. I read widely, especially about current affairs and communications, and have a variety of different interests. I have a creative approach to my work and enjoy trying out new ideas to revitalise communications and support charities to promote their work and brand personality.

Vision for CharityComms

I would like to see CharityComms build on its work to promote the value of communications as integral to the effectiveness of charities. I would be keen to contribute to additional quality resources for charity communicators and actively promote these to key influencers, sharing best practice communications with a wider audience. For example, highlighting the distinctive human touch of charity communications and how this could inspire and influence communications for organisations such as financial institutions. Finally, I would like to help generate ideas for new events – for example TED-style talks tailored for charity communication professionals.

Vote for Suzanne.

Dave Titmas, communications and marketing manager, Carers UK

Professional experience

I trained as a magazine journalist with the clear aim of plying my trade in the charity sector. I had my first job lined up before the end of that course, and have been involved in charity communications ever since. For the past eight years or so I’ve managed communications for a range of charities. In some roles, I’ve had to build teams from scratch and make the strategic case for comms in charities where there’s no senior manager representation. And in all roles, I’ve had to think big with a very limited budget.

Motivations

I joined CharityComms as an individual member eight years ago, while setting up a comms function at a small homelessness charity. My fabulous web supplier saw just how isolated I was, and suggested CharityComms as a forum both to lift my spirits and to help me raise my game. I’ve been a member ever since. It’s helped me hold my head high and make a strategic case for taking comms seriously, as well as giving me the practical tools to punch well above my weight. That’s why I’m jumping at the opportunity to join the board.

Personal qualities and experience

I bring eight years’ leadership experience; crafting strategy and delivery with limited resources. My qualities include lateral thinking and practical creativity – adapting what my counterparts are doing with big teams and big bucks, to great effect. I want to represent colleagues in the sector working with small budgets and huge ambition; I’d like to share the art of leading comms in a smaller yet highly influential charity. I do add to your skills gaps; my experience will resonate with many of your members and may encourage more CharityComms members to share their skills so we continue to lead the way.

Vision for CharityComms

I’d be right behind CharityComms’ vision of effective and inspiring communications at the heart of every charity. My particular interpretation of that vision would be that every comms professional – no matter who they work for – has the opportunity to be represented, inspired and supported. As well as ensuring communications has senior representation at the top 500 charities, I’d love to see CharityComms reaching and resourcing every solo communicator struggling on a shoestring to make comms an integral part of their charity’s work to make life better.

Vote for Dave.

Adeela Warley, head of communications & experience, Friends of the Earth

Professional experience

I have over 20 years’ experience in charity communications across the breadth of skills and functions: strategic planning, market research, media, PR, events, brand, publishing and digital. I have led the development of organisational communications, brand and audience strategies for Friend of the Earth and put them at the heart of our campaigning success and supporter engagement.

Motivations

I championed CharityComms to Friends of the Earth which went on to become one of the founding members in 2007. CharityComms has supported me in my own personal and professional development from the outset – helping me with the small stuff -” can you put me in touch with…?” to the big stuff – “can you help me develop an organisational strategy”? The warm, timely and insightful response I invariably receive makes me a passionate advocate for their work. I regularly attend (and speak at) CharityComms events, I am a CharityComms mentor and I enjoyed contributing to the Best Practice Guides on brand and communications strategies. I enjoy sharing knowledge and experience and would be proud to work with the team and board of trustees – ensuring CharityComms runs as effectively as it can. And ensuring it responds to its members’ needs, helping them to deliver outstanding communications which inspire and engage many more people with great charitable causes.

Personal qualities and experience

  • I bring experience of working as part of senior leadership team at Friends of the Earth and working closely with the board of trustees
  • The ability to work with a wide range of internal and external interests and partners to build strong and productive relationships
  • An enthusiasm for working with others to find solutions to the challenges facing the sector and spotting new trends and opportunities we can exploit to enhance the impact of charity communications
  • I meet two of the selection criteria CharityComms is looking for :
  • I work at director level as head of the Communications and Experience department at Friends of the Earth
  • I come from an ethnic minority background with parents of Malay and Indian, South African heritage. At Friends of the Earth I am working alongside staff and volunteers to create an open and inclusive culture and to put diversity at the heart of our work

Vision for CharityComms

  • To be the voice of its members
  • To be a catalyst for outstanding communications
  • To be an indispensable hub where members can share experience and build skills and knowledge
  • To make charity communicators the most valued and influential players in their organisations

Vote for Adeela.

Matthew Wilk, head of marketing and communications, Centrepoint

Professional experience

A proven marketing and communications professional with 10 years’ experience in the not-for-profit and private sectors, specialising in strategy, brand, media and digital. Since 2010, I have established Centrepoint’s first marketing and communications department and now manage a team of 15 to deliver £7m income and £12m AVE of media coverage annually. In 2012, Centrepoint rose from 93 to 76 in the Charity Brand Index – a higher rise than any other charity that year. My integrity, experience and commitment to drawing on best practice and innovations in communications in the charity sector will make me an invaluable asset to CharityComms.

Motivations

I am a CharityComms user and my team has drawn on its events and resources to improve how we communicate with our audiences. I have been very impressed by the influence and support CharityComms provides and I am enthusiastic about assisting the group to reach more individuals and organisations, as demonstrated by my role as a CharityComms mentor. I believe communications is generally under-valued in the sector but since introducing a robust communications strategy five years ago, Centrepoint’s fundraising income has tripled; helping us move towards our goal of ending youth homelessness. I am passionate about charitable organisations implementing effective communications strategies that could bring similar gains to their causes.

Personal qualities and experience

I work very closely with the Centrepoint board, so I have a good understanding of the processes and responsibilities involved. When undertaking the Windsor Leadership Programme, I was identified as a strategic thinker, diplomatic communicator and excellent problem solver. In 2012, I became the founding chair of the Charities Forum Communications Group, senior marcomms professionals from charities benefitting from the patronage of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The group aims to share best practice and identify opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration. I have recently won a scholarship on Cranfield’s MBA programme, which should also benefit me in this role.

Vision for CharityComms

I’d like to see CharityComms benefit from stronger links with the private sector, leveraging CSR strategies and maximising potential brand partnerships. For example, sponsored research or training programmes as well as tapping into the expertise of established agencies. Centrepoint has partnerships with Ogilvy, MediaCom and the Red Consultancy, which have enabled us to reach ambitious targets while developing our in-house team. I would also like CharityComms to push for a recognised sector specific communications qualification, potentially in partnership with IOF/PFRA/FRSB.

Vote for Matthew.

Jo Walters, communications manager, University of Sussex Students’ Union

Professional experience

I’ve worked for a membership charity for years in a number of roles which supports hundreds of student volunteers. I’m focused on digital communications and am aware this is a key development area for lots of charities seeking to better engage with donors, staff, volunteers and supporters. Managing a small team, I’ve been involved in a number of communication fields which has given me a good overview of the challenges and opportunities we all face. I set up a free conference for communications people in my sector to share their experience and ideas which has been running for three years.

Motivations

It was interesting in my past experience as a trustee to see ‘behind the scenes’ of a charity and influence how it operates and does things for its beneficiaries. I found it a satisfying experience that had benefits for my work and personal development as well as for the charity. I’ve set up initiatives for communications professionals in my sector and worked with other organisations as a freelancer so I’m keen to build on and use this experience as a trustee. CharityComms has been helpful in my work and I’m keen to see this continues for more people and organisations.

Personal qualities and experience

I’ve been a charity trustee before and really enjoyed using my communications experience to improve the organisation. I like to think I’ve got a good eye for detail without losing sight of the bigger picture. Having been a volunteer, beneficiary, donor, supporter, staff member and communications professional within a number of charities gives me insight into the needs of each of these groups and, I’d hope, useful experience to bring to the role of trustee. I’ve narrowly missed the under 30 diversity criteria but don’t hold that against me!

Vision for CharityComms

Coming from a fairly small charity and having a digital professional background I’m interested in seeing how CharityComms can use technology to include more people and reduce the barriers to participation such as time, geography and budget, eg by recording events, using webinars or through communication tools such as Twitter chats. I’d be interested in seeing more people able to contribute articles, ideas, events and information to be shared across the network between the larger workshops and conferences.

Vote for Jo.

Individual members

Laura Budden, communications officer, Cruelty Free International

Professional experience

Following my journalism degree, I sought an organisation whose values I shared. Following my passion led me to complete a year-long professional development programme where I gained in-depth knowledge of the charity environment, from operational management to campaigning. It was a unique opportunity to gain experience and build networks across the sector. I have subsequently provided nationwide communications to over 900 staff and 20,000 residents in social housing and currently work for a campaigning organisation running multi-channel international campaigns, managing the central communications function and providing support to other teams.

Motivations

In today’s challenging financial climate it is essential for charities to build synergy through collaboration. I greatly respect CharityComms for inspiring communications professionals to share best practice and develop a shared resource pool. These tools improve the standard of communications across the sector and increase the impact of our individual charitable aims. In being a trustee I hope that I would bring youthful enthusiasm, drive and commitment to the board. It also gives me the opportunity to contribute my own ideas and learn about best practice in the sector from senior charity figures.

Personal qualities and experience

Working in a fast-paced environment means continually considering and evaluating the latest developments and trends. I champion fresh ideas and ensure they evolve through regular reviews. My proactive approach means I have developed online and offline technical skills to complement my theoretical understanding. I have managed cross-organisational teams to address critical priorities by completing projects such as embedding values based practice. It is why I understand and champion the value of research and the importance of time management. If I were to be appointed, I would provide a fresh viewpoint from an ethnic minority within an international campaigning organisation.

Vision for CharityComms

I would like to see CharityComms’ distinctive collaborative culture go further to increase standards of communications in the sector by inspiring effective communications for professionals at all stages of their careers. This could be realised through further development of mentoring and peer support programmes. The sector is a fantastic place to work for people with vision, ambition and talent. Charities should be promoted as employers of choice for those who want to be the best in their field, and with the vital function of communications at the heart of all charities, it provides a real challenge to the corporate sector.

Vote for Laura.

Katherine Hall, communications manager, Centre for Mental Health

Professional experience

I have been working in charity comms for 13 years, first in a council for voluntary service, and for the last 10 years at the Centre for Mental Health, a national mental health research charity. I have always worked for small organisations so have often found myself to be the only comms person. This means I have a broad experience of all things a comms role requires, including media, social media and email marketing, but my main experience is in producing websites and publications.

Motivations

Having always worked in very small teams, or by myself, I find having a network of fellow comms people invaluable. So I’m really grateful for CharityComms. The articles, training and the strategy book have already been really helpful and only this week I learned a lot from the tweets about the storytelling seminar. So I’d like to contribute by helping the organisation to expand its services and reach more comms professionals. I particularly like your goal of making comms recognised as an integral part of charity impact. Wise words!

Personal qualities and experience

Mainly I can bring my experience of developing a brand and a comms strategy in response to changing funding and a changing audience. By the end of this year, there won’t be a bit of the Centre’s comms that I haven’t refined to position us more accurately in the mental health field. And I think this is a situation that many of your members and even CharityComms itself will be facing. I am familiar with a trustee’s responsibilities, having advised groups on governance at the CVS, and I can also bring some IT and database expertise.

Vision for CharityComms

I think your existing goals are very worthwhile things to achieve. I’d like to make more resources available for small organisations, as that’s where I think you’re most needed. I would advocate for more kinds of membership, for a wider range of events, perhaps some based on themes, such as health comms or comms for animal charities and for developing more advice on successfully integrating comms into the organisation. Comms from the top, not just the comms team!

Vote for Katherine.

Kellie Smith, communications manager, Womankind Worldwide

Professional experience

I have almost 10 years’ experience working in communications and journalism. I am communications manager at Womankind Worldwide responsible for both strategic and operational communications: digital, publications and media relations. A large part of my role involves copywriting, editing and proofreading, and as brand guardian for the charity I ensure all communication is on message. Prior to this, I worked in communications at Contact the Elderly and Elizabeth Finn Care, as well as freelance and voluntary work at charities including Central London Samaritans and Turn2us. I worked in print journalism on trade and consumer titles before moving to the third sector.

Motivations

I have always found it reassuring that there is an organisation out there like CharityComms providing a hub of knowledge on the latest communication trends and best practice in the sector. The organisation has given me invaluable insight and I would like to support CharityComms to help even more communications professionals. Also as a sole communicator for a charity I know how stretched you can feel at times – pulled in a million directions, wearing lots of different hats – so I am really keen to work with and support others working in similar roles.

Personal qualities and experience

I’m the sole communicator at Womankind, and have worked in other small communications teams with limited budgets, so I can provide strategic and operational insight into managing effective communications on a shoestring and with limited resources. In addition, having moved from journalism to the third sector, I am passionate about writing and have an excellent understanding of what the media wants from charity communicators. This means I can bring both experience in copywriting and public relations to the board. Finally I am enthusiastic, driven and love taking on new challenges.

Vision for CharityComms

CharityComms has a fantastic vision – placing effective and inspiring communications at the heart of every charity’s work – and I am passionate about supporting the organisation to deliver this. To do this, I could offer strategic guidance on informative resources for members, particularly building further resources for sole communicators. CharityComms needs to be the ‘go to’ organisation for all charity communicators and to fly the flag for all communications professionals – ensuring we are valued across the sector – by further strengthening its networks and membership base. As a trustee I would be committed to guiding and supporting this direction.

Vote for Kellie.

Saadia Usmani, media consultant, Shor Communications

Professional experience

With over 15 years of broadcasting experience with BBC radio and television and 14 years as a PR professional in the third sector I can offer CharityComms a depth of experience. Shor Communications, my consultancy, was created specifically to support charities and I specialise in media and crisis training. To date I have delivered courses to over 500 people across the UK. My interests, culture and background have influenced my voluntary work; including three years as a diversity lay advisor for Police Scotland and more recently as board member for Edinburgh Community Food and CEMVO (Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations).

Motivations

This is an exciting and challenging opportunity and I have no doubt it would be a mutually beneficial relationship. My current board positions have been very rewarding and stimulating and I feel I have been able to make a difference by offering both my professional and my personal insight on issues and initiatives. I am impressed by the work and the people involved with CharityComms and it would be great to be part of the team that continues to enhance the vital role and value of communication practitioners in the charity sector.

Personal qualities and experience

I am a confident, articulate and effective communicator working with a variety of individuals and organisations in England, Scotland and Wales. I have a good rapport with people and I am able to offer CharityComms an insight into both communications and communities. I am particularly keen on encouraging more interaction from minority ethnic organisations by stimulating interest in communications as a career and empowering groups with the tools and skills to improve communication practices. As a board member for CEMVO I have the opportunity to learn more about the challenges that diverse communities face and how they may be addressed.

Vision for CharityComms

I would see CharityComms as the first port of call for communication professionals in the sector looking for advice, guidance and discussion. Its membership would increase as practitioners come forward to access high quality services endorsed by experts in the field. We would be recognised both internally and externally as robust, innovative and resourceful practitioners that could share good practice across the industry and we would be a resource that would be recommended by those in the field for development and interaction. Common misconceptions that the charity sector was not a credible force in the communications arena would be broken.

Vote for Saadia.