News and views


The Big Picture - November 2021

Ian Merrill
5 November 2021

Every month, our CEO Ian Merrill shares updates on Shannon Trust's work and future developments.

It is Trustees’ Week from 1 to 5 November, and I’d like to take this opportunity to recognise the important contribution of Shannon Trust’s Board of Trustees – all volunteers of course. The work of the Board of Trustees often goes unseen, but they play a vital role behind the scenes in terms of organisational governance, providing constructive challenge and ongoing support for our work. I can illuminate the work of trustees with some examples of how they contribute.

We can all appreciate the importance of organisational governance I’m sure, but an often ignored aspect of this is pace. For Shannon Trust – working on many fronts to improve and extend our impact - the board plays an important role in ensuring that what we do supports our overall vision and mission, and delivers against our strategy. Month-by-month, this means that the leadership team are bringing new developments to the board for consideration, and to ensure momentum is maintained, our board has to absorb information, form judgements and sign-off, or otherwise, on various initiatives. Doing that at some pace ensures we don’t waste time and can crack on with our work.

As the Shannon Trust leadership team brings those ideas and proposals to the board, constructive challenge is really important. It seems to me that a strong, healthy and vibrant organisation is characterised by robust discussion – and here the role of the board is vital – examining why a particular proposal has merit, how it may be improved upon, and how risks are managed properly. As Chief Executive of Shannon Trust, I appreciate the input of our board, as we report on progress and also shape our plans for the future

Lastly, the general support that the board provides is really important and appreciated. We don’t always get everything right – but a good board, with its eye on seeing the bigger picture and an understanding that the sticky problems we are trying to tackle requires the taking of calculated risks – can help to ensure that staff and volunteers feel part of a team, pulling in the same direction. We get the best from our people when they work in a ‘learning culture’ – and our board of trustees at Shannon Trust are at the forefront of that approach. 

So, on behalf of Shannon Trust, thank you to our trustees for all that you do!