Taylor Root UK Trustee network: An interview with Jemilla Olufeko

Author Georgia Morgan-Wynne
January 17, 2024

As part of our interview series for our Trustee Network, Taylor Root Partner, Georgia Morgan-Wynne recently spoke to Jemilla Olufeko, Global Legal Counsel at WPP about being a Trustee for Sydenham Arts.

What does your organisation do?

My organisation is a charity called Sydenham Arts. Based in South East London, our mission is “to provide, promote, and advance the arts for the benefit of the public, in particular people who live, work and are educated in Sydenham and the surrounding areas”. We deliver a range of projects and programmes which respond to social and community issues and bring the local community together including performances, concerts, gallery shows and public art trails which span across the combined arts embracing music, dance, poetry, spoken word, visual arts, workshops, comedy, film, theatre and everything in between.

Why were you interested in becoming a Trustee?

I wanted to become a Trustee as I wanted to offer my skills in an environment where I could bring real value as well as diversify my skill set including strategic leadership skills and financial acumen. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I saw first hand the value of a strong local community. Having worked in creative industries for several years, I love being surrounded by creativity and see the arts as a vehicle for entertainment, education and social change. For these reasons, I was particularly drawn to Sydenham Arts. 

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

I see the role of the Trustee as acting as a guardian of the charity. You are not involved in the day-to-day running of the organisation, but you are there to oversee it and make sure you are working collectively with the rest of the board to ensure the organisation fulfils its purpose as well as to maintain the sustainability and growth of the charity. After three years as a Trustee, I have recently been elected as Chair of the Board where I provide leadership, oversee governance and financial health, collaborate on strategic planning, support the Chief Executive and ensure effective succession planning. A part of my responsibilities is to organise quarterly board meetings and one of my first major projects as Chair was to organise a strategy away day, board meeting, charity staff / trustee social and drinks for the retiring trustees all on the same day!

What are the benefits to a lawyer being a Trustee?

Although you are not there to provide legal services or advice to the organisation, your legal knowledge is useful when it comes to things like contract reviews, policy documents and governance. Your general skills and attributes as a lawyer, such as problem solving, negotiation and communication, are invaluable to charitable organisations. A Trustee role can help lawyers develop skills that will complement their day job and support career progression such as leadership skills, financial acumen and industry expertise. There is also an incredible sense of personal fulfilment to using your expertise to support philanthropic efforts in an area you feel passionate about, aligning with your values and contributing to positive social impact.

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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