Meet Philip Taylor, 30, Trustee for Scottish Seabird Centre

Philip Taylor was 30 when he was appointed as a Trustee at the Scottish Seabird Centre in March 2018 in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People.

How did you hear about the trustee vacancy? What was the appointment process like?

It was suggested to me by one of the staff. The appointment process was an application and an interview.

How was your induction experience to the board? Did you feel well-equipped and supported in your role?

I have been warmly welcomed in and been given full freedom to question and contribute to the work of the centre.

How has your trustee role benefited your professional development?

[It has given me] exposure to a different organisation’s board and management structure (I am basically COO of another NGO) and processes. I was part of the team who recruited the centre’s new CEO and that was a fascinating experience. Most development opportunities relate to being exposed to things, and experiencing things. There is no formal development, but I don’t think there should be.

How do you balance your trustee role with other commitments?

You’re asking the wrong person! I am a glutton for work I think I can help with, and therefore just manage this alongside a busy schedule – I have no overarching plan, I just prioritise based on what seems most urgent and where I can be most helpful.

Why should an organisation consider appointing a young trustee?

Clearly age has no bearing on how much someone can contribute, therefore I don’t think it should even be a question. In my opinion, the only reason more boards don’t currently have younger representation is because i) the way such roles are advertised is not very visible to those earlier in career, and ii) they have yet to build such a substantial network. I think it has helped improve me as an executive in my daily work, and provided a platform for me to continue engaging on the issue (seabird conservation), I therefore also think there is an argument for it in terms of i) altruistically improving the workforce in the third sector and ii) providing a broader base for the work of the third sector.

What advice would you give to other young people considering becoming a trustee?

Gerron with it! Especially young women – I might be a young man just now, but I’ll soon be a middle aged man, and boards have plenty enough of them! If you see a role advertised and are interested, then give the chairperson a call. Without doubt they will be very interested to hear from you.

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Blog, Young Trustees