Taylor Root UK Trustee Network: An interview with Shrina Shah, Pure Gym

Author Georgia Morgan-Wynne
October 9, 2023

As part of our interview series for our Trustee Network, Taylor Root Partner, Georgia Morgan-Wynne recently spoke to Shrina Shah, General Counsel at Pure Gym about being a joint Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Kiln Theatre.

What does your trustee organisation do?

I am (joint) Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Kiln Theatre, a proudly local theatre in Kilburn which has an international reputation for producing high quality, groundbreaking work and bringing diverse/unheard voices to the stage. Community outreach work through creative engagement is also at the heart of what we do.  

Why were you interested in becoming a Trustee?

I have always had a passion for theatre and as a local resident, I had been familiar with the Kiln’s impressive work long before I heard about the role. I am proud to support the theatre’s values and love the fact that I can immerse myself in a completely different industry. Being a Trustee also affords me the opportunity to work with an array of talented individuals: from the incredible creatives in the theatre industry to my fellow Board members who bring a variety of knowledge and experience to the organisation.  

Briefly describe your role as a Trustee and what involvement you have in your organisation?

As a Trustee, I have oversight of the theatre’s strategic vision. Since I joined in February 2020, this has largely been to do with overcoming the challenges of closure and lack of financial support for freelancers during Covid, bringing audiences back and maintaining funding in a difficult economic environment. Creative engagement and community outreach is a key part of our DNA and we’ve fought to continue that alongside our commitment to producing great quality. I sit on the finance committee which discusses the theatre’s financial position and ability to support planned programming – this gives me an invaluable insight into what makes a theatre run. Lastly, in my capacity as joint Vice Chair, I also work more closely with the Chair and Executive Management team to provide feedback, support and Counsel on issues as they emerge.

What are the benefits to a General Counsel being a Trustee?

Although the obvious benefit to the organisation is that we are able to help guide on legal issues, the key benefit for the organisation itself is that most General Counsels will be accustomed to getting under the skin of a business and understanding the broad spectrum of associated risks. We also understand the importance of good governance alongside the need to drive growth and that allows us to make a valuable contribution to long term strategy and planning. Personally, I find it really rewarding to support a cause and community I am passionate about and to have the opportunity to shape and impact a business in a very tangible way.

How can I get a Trustee role?

Although there are formal routes to searching and applying for roles, my advice would be to target a cause/industry/organisation that you are passionate about and try to build a network within that space to learn about new opportunities. I have had two trustee roles and both came about following a chance conversation about my interests. Contacting an organisation and offering to volunteer/help on an ad hoc basis is also a great way to either end up on the Board or make Board connections which may refer you elsewhere. 

How do you manage to balance your paid day job and an unpaid Trustee role?

My experience as a Trustee has really helped me to hone my understanding of good governance as well as business strategy. Resources are more limited in a charity and so I have had to help navigate a broad range of issues, the learnings from which I have been able to apply to my paid job. I therefore see my Trustee role as a part of my continuing professional development which makes it a lot easier to justify the time commitment (to myself and others!) Ultimately though, I love the theatre and it is so rewarding being able to contribute to its success and mission that I am always incentivised to make it work. Most of your Board peers will also have other commitments and as with all roles, demands will vary so it is always worth looking into the participation expectations before committing (e.g. are there sub committees that you would need to attend or just Board meetings).

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.  

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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