Mon 04 Mar 2019

Women in business are taking the lead in creating their own opportunities to grow their careers through voluntary roles as non-executive directors and trustees within charity organisations.

MOL has seen a growing number of colleagues take up non-executive director positions and charity trustee roles as part of their professional and personal development. 

Two thirds of the MOL team who have taken up the roles are women, who see this as an opportunity to widen diversity at a senior level, which in many industries can still be seen as a male-dominated arena.

Three of the women flying the flag for the value of non-executive roles are Joanna Moonan, Operations Director, Emily Allen, Product Manager, and Leanne Shackleton, Corporate Partnerships Manager. All three acknowledge that the additional skills and experience they gain through the voluntary roles have had a positive impact not only on their personal development but for MOL as an organisation. 

Their abilities and experience also bring an additional perspective to the charity boards. While they each support quite different charities, from a large national educational charity to a local social care voluntary organisation, their motivation and what they each get out of their roles is, in essence, the same.

Alongside her day job of Operations Director at MOL, Joanna Moonan is a non-executive director and trustee for a large educational charity, a role she undertook to develop and stretch herself. Speaking about the experience the role offers, Joanna said: “I enjoy the challenge and the responsibility along with exposure to aspects that I wouldn’t otherwise come across. I would highly recommend these roles.  Apart from the fact that the willingness to give your time freely says something about your commitment, ethics and hard work; the experience itself can be developmental and rewarding. And for women who don’t always have the confidence to aim for senior posts, volunteering for these roles can give them confidence and excellent experience.”

Emily Allen, Product Manager at MOL, wanted to use her background in human resources to help the voluntary sector, whilst getting involved at a more strategic level to support her own career development. She has been a trustee with a social care charity in Greater Manchester for five years and feels the role has broadened her. “I have gained a lot of confidence from this role. I now don’t feel intimidated by strategy or making tough decisions, and feel empowered to put my point across in challenging meetings with people who may disagree with me. 

“I am the youngest person on my board by quite a few years, and one of only two women. At first I felt intimidated by this but I now realise the board needs this diversity and the different perspective I can bring. Diversity is really important and I believe you need a good balance of people to make better decisions. If you have career goals, this is an excellent way of stepping up and gaining confidence that you wouldn’t get in your current role.”

Leanne Shackleton, MOL Corporate Partnerships Manager, took advice from her colleagues before taking the plunge with a non-executive director role in a health and social care voluntary organisation. “I believed my skills could bring something different to the board and help improve the charity. As this is a senior and strategic role, I also thought the charity could help me develop these skills, which could help me in my day job at MOL.

“There aren’t always opportunities to identify talented women in business or to create opportunities for them so it is critical to think outside the box and for women to take up these types of roles. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to give something back whilst gaining exposure to new skills which could allow you to take the next step on the career ladder.”