Taylor Root UK Trustee Network: An interview with Phoebe Whitlock

Author Georgia Morgan-Wynne
June 6, 2012

As part of our interview series for our Trustee Network, Taylor Root Partner, Georgia Morgan-Wynne, recently spoke to Phoebe Whitlock, Director at IPAN, about her experience as a Trustee and a Chair of the board of Trustees at Codebar.

You are currently a Chair of the Board for a not-for-profit. Can you talk us through how you came to the role and a bit more about the charity?

As part of a previous job I had, I sat on the DEI committee and we were looking for a partner for a coding workshop. As a part of this, I stumbled across Codebar’s website and saw they were recruiting for a Chair of the Board. I applied and here we are!

Codebar’s goal is to enable minority group members to learn programming in a safe and collaborative environment and expand their career opportunities. To achieve this, Codebar runs free regular workshops, regular one-off events and tries to create opportunities for our student’s making technology and coding more accessible.

What do you feel is the difference between the role of a Trustee and the role of the Chair?

The key role of a Trustee is to bring their expertise and scrutiny to the Board, so the Board as a whole can ensure effective governance in line with the charity’s mission and resources. In my experience, this is different to the Chair of the Board who holds the responsibility of bringing balance and perspective to discussions, facilitating collaboration, and ensuring that diverse viewpoints are considered. As a Chair, I try to remain neutral and our charity constitution specifies when I can vote (usually only in a tie).

 As a Chair, effective communication is the most important and has enabled me to engage stakeholders, convey Codebar’s mission, and advocate for its interests. As a Trustee, lawyers can bring a variety of skills to the Board. I have found my analytical thinking, communication, and judgment to be the most important.

Being a Trustee has helped me immensely. It has helped me grow in confidence in the workplace and become more confident in my voice. As someone at the junior end of the profession, I am now able to show leadership skills, commercial sensitivity awareness, and stakeholder management skills that I would not otherwise get to develop. I use the skills I have developed as a Trustee daily. 

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

As a lawyer whose day job is in technology law, I recommend looking for roles that are related to something you have an interest in. There are a lot of small charities looking for support in their communities.

What have you enjoyed most about being a Chair and a Trustee?

I have enjoyed meeting the people! The other Trustees of Codebar are a brilliant bunch of people. In addition, I love hearing the stories of the people that Codebar has helped. I am currently leading a project to revamp the Codebar blog with stories of participants who have used our workshops to successfully land a new job or change career. That is what makes it all worth it!

If you are interested in a Trustee role or are looking to hire a Trustee position, please get in touch with Sarah Ingwersen 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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