Meet our trustees: ‘it’s a really rewarding way to volunteer’

Get to know the trustees who help lead Girlguiding with their diverse knowledge, skills and experience

17 May 2024

In this series of blogs, we’re speaking to some members of our board of trustees about their experiences.

Our trustees contribute their skills to help Girlguiding continue supporting girls and young women to grow, thrive and find their voice.

First, we speak to Sue Parker-Tantush. She’s a qualified risk management and safety professional, chair of an inner-city school and former leader of a Scout group – as well as a former Brownie and Guide. Her experiences have given her first-hand knowledge of the impact on young people of being exposed to wider opportunities.

Tell us about your trustee role – what does it involve?

‘It involves taking an active role in managing the strategic direction of Girlguiding, to ensure we deliver on our mission for girls and protect the future of the charity. This usually involves meetings, and lots (and lots) of papers to read!’

What originally made you want to become a trustee?

‘I have 2 girls and I know how important it is to make sure their voices are heard. As an ex-Scout leader, I’ve seen first-hand the difference charities like Girlguiding can make to the day-to-day lives and futures of the young people they support.'

What are your goals as a trustee?

‘To make sure we protect the charity for the long-term future. I’m also really passionate about ensuring Girlguiding is more and more inclusive.'

How do you think your personal experiences as a Scout leader and a former Brownie and Guide have guided you as a trustee?

‘I think my experience as a Brownie and Guide reminded me how important guiding was for building my confidence growing up. I was quite shy, so it helped me to try new things! Being a Scout leader gave me insight into how hard it is to volunteer in terms of the demands on your time, but also how rewarding and fun it is. As a Scout leader, I particularly loved camping - and cooking for boys who always seemed to be starving!'

How do your skills and knowledge from your career translate into your trustee role?

‘I think when you’re an independent trustee like me, your job is to stand back and look at things with fresh eyes to help you and others see what’s working well and what isn’t.

I think my risk skills enable me to take a balanced view of how we manage our risks for the long term, and whether something will have a negative impact on things like financing and recruitment. This sometimes leads to tough decisions, but always helps me to look at the bigger picture and what will be right for the future of Girlguiding.

As a safety professional, I think my practical knowledge helps me to advise trustees and others on making sure we protect our girls and volunteers in a simple straightforward way, but not losing sight that adventure is really important too.'

What do you find most rewarding about being a trustee?

‘As the mum of 2 girls, just being involved and being able to make a difference in such an important charity, and helping to support young women grow, makes me really proud.'

What’s the most fun thing about being a trustee?

‘I love meeting girls and young leaders and hearing their stories.'

What’s been your proudest moment as a trustee?

‘Seeing some of the simplified safety processes come out, making it easier for volunteers to manage safety in their units. Also building strong relationships outside of the board to get to know what’s important to our volunteers.’

What advice would you give to others who are considering becoming a trustee?

‘Do it! It’s a really rewarding way to volunteer and use your career knowledge in a positive way. Finally, don’t focus on what you think you don’t know - you’re there because of what you do know.'

Thank you Sue for sharing with us! If you'd like to help influence decision-making at Girlguiding, keep your eyes on our opportunities page where we regularly post new and exciting ways to get involved.