Why I became a Trustee at Advice4Renters
My basic reason for seeking to get involved in working with a charity was in order to give something back to society, to do some good. Knowing little about the sector my main requirement was that it be something relevant and local to London, something in which my skills and experience could make a real difference. So when I came upon Advice4Renters seeking trustees - and having done my research - I felt that you cannot get more relevant than that in today’s London; I applied immediately.
My first impressions came from the website - clear, friendly, inviting use - and these were reinforced by our initial communications by e-mail. Here, I felt, was an organisation that was all about what its name implied and not stuffy or self-important. These impressions were confirmed when I reached the Advice4Renters office, having rushed from the tube station: a simple, functional, welcoming space. I was immediately made to feel at ease and we (the two trustees present, the executive director and I) had a long conversation about what they did, how they tried to do it and how I saw myself fitting in and trying to add something to their difficult task. I left feeling strongly that I would like to be involved, assuming they would want me.
On Tuesday the 25th of October I attended the Advice4Renters AGM, held at a different location but in the same friendly atmosphere as my informal interview of a few days before, and was able to see and hear some of the members of the board of trustees and employees talk about the past year; a group of members were also there. Apart from routine AGM matters, which highlighted the charity’s vulnerable but slightly improving financial position, hopes, possibilities and potential action plans for the future were also discussed. At some point I was introduced, asked to say a few words; later in the proceedings I was pleased to be proposed and elected to the Board of Trustees. The AGM did have a sad note, though, as it was the last chaired by Julia Atkins - she was thanked for her support and contribution over the years and mutual good wishes were exchanged. Alas I had to miss the nibbles etc and the social bit at the end as I had to hurry off to catch a train home!
I cannot wait to start making a real contribution to the small, worthy charity that is Advice4Renters.
Illias is an experienced businessman who specializes in managing Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). He joined Advice4Renters board in November 2016.