What inspired Suzie to become a trustee?

New to the board of trustees, Suzie shares what inspired her to learn about trusteeship and join MS-UK

A few years ago, I found myself stuck. I was a marketer getting promoted year after year to the next step on the corporate ladder. But to what end? I was unfulfilled.

As with most people, it took a major event (or two) to really drive change in my life.

In 2017, I lost my mum to cancer and in 2019 I became a mum myself. My perspective changed. I realised I needed to do something more meaningful in my life. I wanted to help people and make my daughter proud!

I started volunteering each week for Macmillan, supporting those affected by cancer, and for Hackney Volunteer Centre, supporting the local community. I was motivated by my own direct experiences.

These were rewarding roles for me, especially during the pandemic. I was doing my bit for the community. But I had a niggling feeling that I could do more to help and that there were other roles that I would get more out of.

Trusteeship was not on my radar. It was something I stumbled across while actively pursuing new volunteer opportunities. I attended the Festival of Trusteeship to learn more, and realised I could put my volunteering time to greater use, using my skills built in the corporate world to help a charity. Being a trustee offered me the opportunity to deliver a bigger impact to those in need, while learning from new experiences. It was exactly what I was looking for.

So then came my journey to find the right trustee role.

I wanted a small to medium sized charity, where I could make a significant difference using my marketing skills to drive growth. And I wanted something to do with improving people’s health.

MS-UK stood out for me from the beginning and there were three things that made me want to volunteer my time…

Community driven

MS-UK has a clear purpose that puts the community first. The MS-UK vision is a simple one – a world where people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) live healthier and happier lives. This really resonated with me and still does. It is all about the community the charity serves. Through speaking with the team at MS-UK, I could tell that they really listened and responded to the community. To me, this meant I could be effective in helping improve the lives of those affected by MS here and now. For a health charity, this felt positive and uplifting.

Commitment and passion

I was struck by the exceptional commitment and passion of the team, including the board. Everyone had enormous passion for the charity and the number of people who had been working with the charity for twenty plus years was extraordinary. MS-UK had a family-like feel. It was a team I wanted to be a part of. Since the pandemic began, I have been working remotely, which made this tight knit team feel even more appealing to me and I am immensely proud to have joined!

A need for my talents

MS-UK were looking for trustees with transformation and digital marketing skills, just my field of expertise. I had built these skills working at senior levels in the corporate marketing world. This was an opportunity to impart my knowledge to help MS-UK drive awareness and grow the community they support. And it offered me the opportunity to gain experience of new things in the process.

I don’t have direct experience with MS. But that only made this opportunity more exciting for me. An opportunity to listen to the community without the bias of my own experience, to better support those affected by MS in ways that are important to them.

So, if you’re looking to volunteer, I encourage you to think beyond the obvious, work out what’s important to you, and explore all the opportunities out there. Volunteering can be a wonderful way to give back to the community, but also extremely rewarding in the process.

I am thrilled to be beginning my journey with MS-UK.