Taylor Root UK Trustee Network: An interview with Lawrence Grabau

Author Georgia Morgan-Wynne
May 31, 2024

As part of our interview series for our Trustee Network, Taylor Root Partner, Georgia Morgan-Wynne, recently spoke to Lawrence Grabau, Chief Legal Officer at Pizza Hut UK and Europe, about being a Trustee for Moon Hall School Reigate.

What does your current NFP do?

Moon Hall is the country’s leading mainstream dyslexic school. I became a Trustee of Moon Hall school in March 2023. I sit on the board of governors as well as serve on the HR, Finance and Development & Growth committees.

Please can you share how you became a Trustee there? 

I wanted to give back and support a charity that I feel can make a big impact to the lives of children in an underrepresented and typically underfunded area. I initially enquired on becoming a Trustee of the national dyslexic charity, the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) who at the time were not recruiting but by chance the chair of the BDA was also the head at Moon Hall and suggested I should consider becoming a Trustee of the school. I also wanted to build my Trustee portfolio to develop my skillset and knowledge for further roles such as becoming a corporate NED.

It goes without saying the skills lawyers develop over their career, such as the ability to analyse situations, identify key issues and develop strategies to address them quickly are vital for the role. However, where I feel I’ve added the most value is being an ‘outsider’ to the education system as it enables me to bring a fresh perspective.

What do you feel is the key role of a Trustee?

For me the key role of a Trustee for a school is to be that ‘critical friend’ to the school’s leadership team. This is not dissimilar from the role in-house lawyers tend to play with their business partners so it can be a very natural fit. But in addition to that, providing governance and oversight to the school, ensuring that it operates in line with its mission, vision, and values while complying with legal and ethical standards. It is a big responsibility as ultimately you are legally accountable for these, and your contribution has a meaningful impact on the role that the school plays within the community and most importantly for the development of its children.

It has given me the chance to learn new skills and make new connections. I wanted to develop my finance skills as this is an area that I have found difficult to devote meaningful time to during my legal career. It has also helped give me a sense of perspective – as an in-house lawyer you are often sector focused; having the chance to step out of that and gain insights from other governors with diverse experiences has helped me to take learnings back into my organisation that has made me more intentional and efficient in analysing problems and decision making. The experiences I’ve gained at Moon Hall have also encouraged me (and have given me the confidence) to explore non-legal stretch opportunities within my organisation too.  

What advice would you give to lawyers looking for a Trustee role?

Be super selective – there are numerous opportunities out there. Carefully evaluate each role to ensure it aligns with your expertise, values and availability. Having a connection to the cause of the charity is also important as it can be a big commitment – you need to want to be there and have a passion for making a difference.

What have you enjoyed most about being a Trustee?

Making impactful decisions, contributing to the success of the charity and helping to shape its future direction. I have also had the opportunity to work closely with other passionate individuals, collaborate on strategic initiatives, and see the tangible results of our efforts, which can be fulfilling and enjoyable.

If you are interested in a Trustee role or are looking to hire a Trustee position, please get in touch with Georgia Morgan-Wynne to find out more.

If you would like to join our Trustee network, find out more here

We want to reiterate that this is not a paid service and forms part of our referral programme, so please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

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