Charity Bank has launched a new initiative to provide young professionals with a unique opportunity to experience what it’s like to be on the Board of a financial institution.
Naana Owusu, one of the Board shadow members shares her journey to Charity Bank and her thoughts on being a shadowee on the Board.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a final year student, currently studying Business Management with Finance at the London South Bank University. I really enjoy the course and chose the degree as I like the broadness of all areas of business alongside the finance aspect. Outside of business, I have a variety of interests including photography and have recently started working on 35mm film prints. I also volunteer with organisations like FYA who provide mental health services to young people.
What is it like being a Board Shadowee?
It’s been eye opening to be a Board Shadowee at Charity Bank. It’s brilliant to be able to engage with colleagues from across the bank and speak about various topics – I’ve never had an opportunity like that before.
Before each Board meeting, we get sent the Board reports and memos which gives us a chance to review the information upfront and prepare for the session.
I’ve really learnt how to communicate in the business world. Throughout the organisation, people have different roles and we’re encouraged to be open to thinking about other people’s ideas which helps to enhance our communications skills.
Tell us more about the mentorship element of the role?
The mentorship has been invaluable – Dr Ambreen Shah, my mentor, and has been really helpful. Her guidance makes me feel comfortable, enables me to ask questions and be curious about the process of the Board meetings which ensures I am prepared and understand the topics in the session.
How did you hear about Charity Bank?
I found Charity Bank through the organisation Global Purpose Enterprise who seek to level up young Black and Underrepresented individuals to find opportunity and discover purpose.
I hadn’t heard about the bank until I heard of the Board Shadowee opportunity. Once I got to hear about the organisation, I was really interested and the social impact value of Charity Bank resonated with me.
So far, I’ve been part of two Board meetings and attended Charity Bank’s 20th Birthday celebration, which was fantastic.
The fact that Charity Bank exists to benefit the greater good is one of my favourite parts of being on the Board, seeing the social impact is amazing!
How will being on the Board shape your career?
I feel like it’s going to give me a better understanding in terms of business operations, broaden my network and help establish connections.
What does it meant to be able to do this role?
I wanted to be able to provide a Generation Z perspective to the discussions, helping the bank to have a more forward-thinking approach. I’ve been able to learn about the company, their approach and understanding how it works to maximise its social impact.
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
After being on the Board it has given me a real appetite to work in Business operations. Personally, I love the technology side of business and I hope I could take my experiences with Charity Bank into the tech sector with an organisation like Meta. I would also like to explore potential trustee opportunities in the future because this role has given me a unique insight into the importance the role of charities and social purpose organisations.
Why does it matter where you bank?
It’s so important, especially for Generation Z as they will not stand for nonsense and with more people looking into the authenticity and transparency of organisations; and you can’t put on a façade and that’s why Charity Bank is great. They are intentional of who they work with and why and keeps you moving forward.
What would you say to someone looking to be a Board Shadowee?
I’d tell them to maximise their opportunity, connect and speak to everyone who can give them the time as it’s a great way for you to grow your professional network. Be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Charity Bank’s Board shadowee initiative is a valuable opportunity for young professionals to gain valuable experience and a deeper understanding of the role of a Board member and trustee.
About Charity Bank
Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,100 loans totalling over £400m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.
Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.