Jewish Community Trustee Event 2015

Lead together with community partner JVN hosted a Trustees and CEO’s leadership development event for 150 leaders in the Jewish Community at JW3.

The event began with an exclusive CEO Reception attended by 24 CEOs from top Jewish communal organisations.

Charity Commission CEO Paula Sussex was an inspirational key-note speaker on the theme of Increasing Public Trust in Charities. She highlighted themes such as Charity Regulation, with greater accountability now being demanded by the public, stressing that the Charity Commission is tougher now with charities “More robust, though it is still absolutely about supporting an effective and flourishing sector.”

She took questions on issues such as CEO’s pay and the Charity Commissions view and guidance on this, the bench mark for charity overheads, transparency, the younger generation and the proportion of female trustees on boards – which currently stands at only 20 %.

Participants also attended a choice of workshops during the evening covering themes such as "Leading Jewish Organisations Through Challenging Times", "The Secrets of a Successful Board", and "Transparency Can Be Transformative", as well as stressing, "The Ten Commandments of Being a Trustee."

The “Leading Jewish Organisations Through Challenging Times” panel discussion which explored answers to some of the questions raised following the key-note speech was a highlight of the evening. Panelists Steven Lewis, Chair of Jewish Care, Ella Rose, UJS Chair and Chaya Spitz, CEO of Interlink which represents 200 Haredi membership organisations were led by Chair Michael Goldstein of JW3.

Ella Rose of UJS explained that a recent challenge had been preparing students for possible anti-Semitism and other difficulties following the recent war in Gaza – they found that many students were struggling with their relationship and views on Israel. The UJS leadership emphasised “a need to be unified, but not uniform,” and making students aware that their life on campus would not be defined by politics.

Steven Lewis stressed that on the theme of composition of a board with skills and funding being key elements, “Fundraising is not a dirty word. You do need it to provide the services. A third of the board should be fundraising.”

A central theme of the discussion was the large number of small charities and the question of whether they should be encouraged to merge. Michael Goldstein of JW3 pointed out, “I have just come through 9 months of a merger… and it is all about what is in the best interest of the Community.”

Key-note speaker, Paula Sussex joined the Charity Commission as CEO in June 2014 and has extensive leadership experience, particularly in delivering solutions and services to the public, private and voluntary sectors. Her previous roles include: Senior Vice President (Public Sector), CGI CEO, Atos Consulting Director, KPMG Consulting. She is qualified as a barrister and holds a Sloan Masters Degree from the London Business School. She also has a longstanding association with Crisis, the charity for single homeless people, where she was a trustee for six years.

Nicky Goldman, Executive Director, Lead said:

Building on the success of the past 2 years, this year's Jewish Community Trustees Event has exceeded our expectations on all levels. Record numbers attended to network, share best practice, learn from experts in their fields and hear first-hand about how to increase public trust in charities from Paula Sussex, the Charity Commission's new CEO. We were delighted to provide this dynamic forum for such engagement, debate and leadership development in partnership with JVN.

Debbie Fox, Lead Vice-Chair said:

Tonight has been a resounding endorsement for the work of Lead. With so many people attending the event from across a range of organisations, there is clear evidence of the value being given to the importance of trustee development.

Leonie Lewis, Director JVN said:

JVN is delighted to continue its great partnership with Lead. We recognise that critical to the success and development of the Jewish community and its charity sector is the ongoing development of volunteer's, especially those engaged as Trustees and lay leaders. Events such as this community trustees seminar, not only provide significant input from experts but opportunity to network and share good practice.

Paula Sussex, CEO of the Charity Commission, the charity regulator said:

I was pleased to see so many charities from the Jewish community discussing together the key issues facing charities today, such as how to manage their charities well and how to be even more accountable to the public. Charity trusteeship is a hugely fulfilling role but one that carries responsibilities, and knowing trustees take their responsibilities seriously is really encouraging.

Photos from the event can be found here.