Abbie Wilson has been a Trustee for Young Scot since she was 16 years old. Now 19, she has been on the board for over 3 years and has been one of the Vice Chairs for 2 years.
Abbie spoke to us about her experience joining the Board, how she manages her time between volunteering and studying at Medical School, and gives her advice to those thinking of taking their first step to becoming a young trustee too.
How did you hear about the trustee vacancy? What was the appointment process like?
I was approached by the board to join as a result of my volunteering with Young Scot. I volunteered on the Youth Commission on Smoking Prevention, Commonwealth Legacy Ambassadors and Young Scot Awards Panel for 2 years before I joined the board. This was a great platform to then join the board from, as I had first-hand experience of the organisation’s Co-Design process and what it is like to use Young Scot’s service as a young person.
How was your induction experience to the board? Did you feel well-equipped and supported in your role?
Young Scot provide an induction process for new board member’s joining the board. Naturally, I felt nervous and apprehensive when I arrived for my first meeting but the board quickly put me at ease. We have two new board members joining us, Aksa Ali and Amy Simmons, who myself and Elma Murray OBE (Chair) will be buddying as they join the board.
How has your trustee role benefited your professional development?
My role has greatly increased my confidence and ability to articulate my opinions and ideas in a professional way. I believe that this increased confidence greatly contributed to me being able to apply and successfully gain a place at medical school. Furthermore, my role as a trustee means that I have the privilege of meeting people from many different walks of life which gives me a wider perspective for the challenges that my peers and patients may encounter.
How do you balance your trustee role with other commitments?
I am very passionate about young people and ensuring that Young Scot enhances their experience of growing up in Scotland so I always try to attend any commitments that I can. The University of Dundee Medical School have been extremely helpful in allowing me time some off in order to attend commitments with Young Scot.
Why should an organisation consider appointing a young trustee?
I would change the question to ask them why they shouldn’t appoint a young trustee? A board should be able to have a debate and discuss various aspects of the organisation so it is essential to have people with different points of view and experiences. Furthermore, just because someone is young does not mean that they don’t have the same level of knowledge and experience as other board members.
What advice would you give to other young people considering becoming a trustee?
If you see a position that you would like to apply for, do it! If you are unsure about what kind of role you would be suited to, speak to someone who knows you well or someone who is a board member. I think that the most important piece of advice I can give is to engage in a cause which you are really passionate about – this is the first important step.