Aotearoa needs more young people on boards
Want to be one of them?
Millennials are the largest segment in Aotearoa and currently make up half the working population. The way we learn, communicate, transact and live is very different from our parents and grandparents.
Despite the importance of young people’s contribution to society, the average age of directors in Aotearoa is around 60 and overall the age of board directors is trending up.
Working with young board members allows for boards to keep in touch with a broader range of audiences and have the diversity of thought to genuinely view systems and decisions with fresh eyes.
We are developing a group of young people (35 and under) who are interested in developing their Board skills and Board positions. Register below to join this group and keep up to date with upcoming opportunities.
YOUTH GOVERNANCE WORKSHOPS
Do you have an eye for strategy and impact? Want to upskill and add a board membership to your resume? Unsure how to go about it, what the criteria is, or if you have valuable skills?
The Social Change Collective hosts free Youth Governance Workshops online and in person.
These are tailored for younger people (35 and under) and aim to help in understanding how boards work, how to get on a board, and where you can best upskill to become an effective board member. Register your interest below.
Sign up to our youth governance mailing list here to hear about upcoming opportunities and workshops
Trade Aid board member
I was on the Board for the Wellington Trade Aid Store. I acted as a Trustee and stood in as Secretary.
The Social Change Collective helped me by advertising the role and allowing the two organisations to help each other (the TradeAid manager was a guest speaker at a SCC event and the SCC advertised for more Board roles for TradeAid).
I think Boards gain a lot from having young people on them – not only does it offer a different perspective to the Board, it allows the Board to tap into different networks and to use different skills.
From being on the Board I learnt a lot about how Governance works in practise. I now understand not only the legal requirements of the Trusts but their purpose and I was lucky enough to go to the Trade Aid National Annual General Meeting as a representative from the Wellington Board, which further demonstrated how distributed Governance works.
I also learnt a lot about the awesome work Trade Aid does (including learning about their partners all-over the world) and met some amazing people. Trade Aid Wellington is run by a dedicated and inspiring group of people.
NEST Collective board member
A Social Change Collective trustee connected me to an opportunity with the NEST Collective, so I met with a trustee from NEST Collective to check for alignment. It was a great meeting of mutual minds where I would be a real asset to the board. I was well aligned with their values, and they offered me a position on their board of trustees in November 2020.
The NEST Collective is a collective of volunteers across New Zealand who partner with social workers to make sure parents are supported by essentially providing baby boxes for underprivileged families. I believe that all children should have the best start to life.
The board at the NEST Collective is very diverse. Everybody brings something different to the table. I'm the youngest person on the board for sure, and I bring different perspectives.
It's given me a different avenue to use my skills. Being on the board helps me to lend my skills in a different way than on-the ground volunteering. From my junior mindset, I like to get an understanding of how everything operates. I'm able to add the most value because I'm more hands on. Young people are more intentional with the way that we choose to do things, more so than older generations.
The different perspective changes the way that boards interact with the charity. It's not enough to just sit around a table and make decisions. It's a privilege to be able to share my thoughts and represent that viewpoint. If that includes disrupting it a bit then I'm all for it.
Dwell Housing Trust board intern
Following one of the Social Change Collective's early events on homelessness in Wellington, I was lucky to be offered a board internship with the Dwell Housing Trust. The Dwell Housing Trust provides a range of affordable, quality housing services for people in need or on a low income. The internship, which was facilitated by the Social Change Collective, provided me with visibility of how boards operate, how decisions are made at the board level, and the expectations placed on board members. These learnings would be useful for anyone hoping to join a board, particularly young people who are generally excluded from gaining first-hand experience at a board table.
As companies and not-for-profits face increasingly important decisions relating to climate change, the impact of existing and emerging technologies, and the challenges posed by rapidly changing societal norms, I hope we will see an increase in the diversity of New Zealand's board members. This will help to ensure those decisions are informed by the views of a range of impacted groups rather than just a small subset.