Volunteer's Week 2019: Jean's Story

Volunteer's Week 2019: Jean's Story

Posted Monday 3rd June 2019...

It's Volunteers Week 2019! And we're celebrating all our amazing, talented, enthusiastic and hard working volunteers that make our world go round at Made in Hackney! We LOVE these guys.

Meet Jean Carroll. She’s the inaugural Chair of Trustees at Made in Hackney and has served on the Board since its inception in June 2017. We had a chat with her to find out what motivates her to give her time.

MIH: Hi Jean, We’d love to know what inspired you to want to contribute your skills to MIH?

Jean: I have always loved cooking and when I started eating entirely plant-based food, I was looking for a relevant cookery course to help me with my transition.  My search brought me to Made in Hackney!

Hackney was over an hour away, so I got up early and trekked across London to join a group of 10 other people embarking on an exciting day of chopping, cooking and tasting new flavours, under the guidance and direction of a professional chef.  We also received guidance on organic, yet affordable, and locally sourced ingredients.  From then I was hooked and joined several more classes, including one with Anton Petrov of Vanilla Black fame, and Nishma Shah, the Founder and Chef of Shambhu's, over the following months.

When I heard Made In Hackney was becoming its own independent charity, and they required a Chair to the Board of Trustees, I jumped at the chance to be considered for the role.

MIH: And what were you hoping to gain from the experience?

Jean: Accepting the position as Chair of Trustees was my opportunity to give back to the community, rather than expecting to gain anything in return.  However, being part of the Made In Hackney family has been hugely rewarding.  I have gained an incredible sense of pride to be part of a team that serves the community, achieving visible results, as well as the continued quality, variety and professionalism of the cookery masterclasses, which was my original introduction to the organisation.

MIH:  That's great. Is there anything else you've learned?

Jean: It's been a humbling experience, as charities only flourish due to the commitment of the founders, management team and volunteers.  The role and commitment of the other Board members has been inspiring; and as a team we come from very different social backgrounds and have very different careers. We are international, and yet our common focus brings strong collaboration. 

MIH: Which of your skills do you feel have been of most benefit and that charities most need?

Jean: As a finance director at the London Stock Exchange, I have a wealth of financial knowledge, allowing me to support the Board, Treasurer and Finance Director.  Having an MBA from the prestigious London Business School, in addition to having an affluent network, I bring strategic expertise to the board.

We have become an effective team over these last 18-months, due to each member being approachable, open and respectful.  These skills don’t require higher-education or previous work experience; yet are the most beneficial aptitudes for a well-oiled, robust team. 

MIH:  What advice would you have for professionals seeking a meaningful trusteeship?

Ensure you have a true belief in the purpose of the charity, as this makes it’s much easier to dedicate the time and focus needed to support the charity to succeed.  Everything of purpose takes time and commitment and you should be prepared to offer your time for at least 2-3 years to see a meaningful result. 

But being a trustee isn’t just about attending charity events and Board Meetings; it’s sharing responsibility for ensuring the charity and Board complies with its legal and governance responsibilities.  This can be daunting, however, there is a lot of support from organisations like the NCVO and the Charity Commission which has a network of members that meet regularly to discuss some of the challenges and concerns; so, with the challenges comes a large network of support. It’s definitely worth it!


Read more inspiring volunteer stories during Volunteers Week from Jill Samah Leo and Otilia

If you're inspired to volunteer with us please head on over to our Volunteers Page and check out the roles on offer.



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