Vice-chair of Epilepsy Scotland’s board of directors, Kirsty Lynch, explains why she joined Epilepsy Scotland as a trustee and the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why did you join Epilepsy Scotland as a trustee?
In addition one of my team was planning her wedding and during her lunch I could hear all the arrangements she was having to consider as her dad also lived with epilepsy.
Having conversations with them both gave me more of an understanding of the condition and how it was so widely misunderstood, it not only affects the individual but their loved ones.
We discussed Epilepsy Scotland and the support they had both had over the years and I felt this was the right organisation for me to join to help make a difference.
What particularly interests you about Epilepsy Scotland?
I love the boldness of the organisation and how it campaigns to really make a difference to individuals in Scotland living with epilepsy. The passion that all of the team have is great to see.
What is your background in terms of skills and experience?
My experience is in HR and Learning and Development. My current career is in the media industry where I work as part of the senior leadership team across the UK. I feel that I bring a business and strategic view to the board.
What are the main responsibilities of being a trustee?
It is about ensuring the organisation is true to its vision and those it services. It is about being able to constructively challenge each other and the organisation to be the best it can be.
What is the trustees’ role in relation to the Chief Executive?
For me, it is about providing a balance between support and challenge, also about providing guidance and advice using the experience we bring to the table.
How do you make sure you are being effective/doing a good job both individually and as a board?
It is about giving commitment to the organisation for me and asking myself the same way I do in my day job, am I adding value.
We also need to be open to challenge and be willing to challenge those around the table to make sure we are adding value, the decisions we make are compliant and the right thing for the organisation.
If it is not adding value and taking us closer to the vision, why are we doing it.
What are the advantages of having a board made up of people from all sorts of backgrounds with different skills and experience?
We all bring a different voice, skill set and experience to the table which is extremely valuable. It helps us generate good debate and make sure we are looking at all we do from every angle.
What’s been the best thing about being a trustee so far?
For me it is about the relationships I have developed and although making some really tough decisions knowing that it is the right decision to protect the future of the organisation.
How hard has it been being a trustee of a charity during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I have personally found it easier as I think it has brought out the best in all of the trustees and the team at Epilepsy Scotland.
The hardest thing is making sure we protect the future of the organisation so Epilepsy Scotland is here for generations long after we have gone.
What would you say to anyone who was looking to become a trustee?
Make sure you fully understand the responsibility that you have before applying for a role, this is not something to do just to develop your CV, you need to have passion and drive for the cause you are supporting and be prepared to add value at every step.