A Day in the Life of a Board Member
What motivated you to apply for the role of Board Member at BSB?
I was looking a for a prestigious public body non-executive role that would stretch my capabilities. This role added three dimensions to my leadership capabilities
- Looking at the barristers/legal profession through eyes of the public and the regulator
- Working with a unique, highly professional and diverse board
- Leadership of change in a profession in which I wasn’t an expert.
What have you found yourself involved in during your tenure?
I am member of the performance sub-committee challenging and assuring the usual financial metrics, risk and people metrics. Also how we communicate to the public and the profession.
The big ticket items around our future strategy and our role in the legal justice system in light of the CMA review - e.g. How do we make ourselves more accountable for the quality of barrister services to the public?
Encouraging diversity in the profession
Developing Future Bar Training and understanding the needs of different stakeholders
Describe the role in three words?
Strategic, Challenging and Engaging
What kind of time commitment do you have to give? Do you have to travel a lot?
2 days a month face time and half a day reading. So far most of the travel has been in London and the South East.
What kind of opportunity have you had to get involved with staff / external stakeholders?
The way the board and sub-committees work we get to see the senior management team and executive external stakeholders, I have regular reviews with the Inns of Court.
Has the role lived up to your expectations?
Yes it terms of developing my leadership capabilities and I hope in some of the value a lay person can bring to the role – early days only 6 months in post.
What has been your greatest achievement whilst in post?
Understanding what a barrister does and explaining it to my 8 year old daughter.
What elements do you enjoy the most?
Engaging with the board and the SMT also leading change.
What has been the most challenging part of this role?
Understanding how the profession works and why it does things in a particular way – still learning! Also acronyms and I thought the ICT industry was bad!
How would you describe your colleagues?
The layman colleagues are diverse in outlook and come from different backgrounds and professions which is excellent. The Barristers are very bright, courteous and traditional - as you would expect they can explain the simplest of points with great prose and elegance. Which is a joy.
The Exec and SMT are amongst the most dedicated, knowledgeable and professional people I have had the pleasure to work with in small to medium size operation.
What have you learnt about yourself?
To actively listen and effectively challenge - without having to know all the detail. The power of curiosity is amazing.
Would you encourage others to think about applying?
Yes – you will be amazed at what you can bring to the table. However, you will need patience, you will need to invest your time wisely and want to do something for the great public service. However, you will be a better and more connected leader as a result.