Case Study: BlackRock

Step on Board trustee programme places 200th trustee placed on charity board and highlights growing corporate interest in trusteeships.

3 September 2018 – Trustees Unlimited placed the 200th trustee through its Step on Board – board level volunteering programme. Hina Patel, a strategic project manager from investment firm BlackRock has joined the board of children’s charity Starlight

This milestone placement doubles the number of trustees placed through Step on Board since 2017 and highlights the growing take up of board level volunteering programmes in many UK companies. 

Step on Board connects professional people with charities and organisations with a social or environmental mission that need their professional skills. For employers, the programme offers a fresh alternative to leadership development, enabling senior talent to gain new skills and board level experience and contribute to society at the same time.  

EY, Barclays, BlackRock, British Land, Credit Suisse, Google, Mishcon de Reya, and PA Consulting are amongst the companies how have adopted Step on Board.

Discussing her motivations for becoming a trustee Hina Patel said, “I wanted to join a charity to board to broaden my skills and experience and interact with people from different backgrounds. I work in strategic projects at BlackRock with a variety of different functional teams. I believe my experience will be useful to a charity, particularly as many want to become more business-like and accountable.  I am also keen to do something different and make a positive contribution to society. 

“I have a passion to help children with illnesses and Starlight attracted me particularly as my family has been affected by cancer. The charity provides a range of amazing services for children with serious and terminally ill children, by granting wishes of a lifetime and providing fun and laughter and entertainment to children in hospitals and hospices.”

Hina was first introduced to Step on Board through a Women’s Network Initiative at BlackRock, which is focused on getting more women onto boards and who suggested it would be great way of gaining board level experience.  

Hina started her role in June and has met all the board members and already is making a positive contribution. The charity is undertaking a strategic review of its products and services and has plans to develop its management team. Hina has contributed to the review process and also introduced a great business coach she worked with at BlackRock, who will develop the management team. 

Ian Joseph, Managing Director at Trustees Unlimited says, “We’re delighted to have made our 200th Step on Board placement at Starlight and Hina will make a hugely valuable contribution.  Step on Board started as a small pilot at Barclays in 2014, but today many blue-chip companies are introducing it to develop existing and future leaders and to engage with charities in a sustainable and meaningful way that goes much further than traditional CSR programmes. Charities and business can benefit in many ways from the programme and for this reason, it is going from strength to strength.”

Greg Davies, Head of Behavioural Finance at Oxford Risk was one of the first trustees placed through the board level volunteering programme at Barclays in 2014. Greg is still serving as a trustee at charity, Sound and Music, which is focused on promoting new music and composition.

Greg said, “The programme offered me the perfect combination of being able to do something useful, put something back into society and gain useful new skills and experience that helped me to progress and prepare for my career. I would recommend the experience to others without hesitation.”

The experience has also enhanced his career. 

Greg says, “I have now moved away from Barclays and am running a small business. Having board level experience at Sound and Music has helped me prepare for this experience in many ways. I would really recommend the experience to others who run their own business or those looking for NED roles or a portfolio career. I would say gain early board experience and get on the ladder as quickly as possible.”