Olukemi Jeboda is the Director of People at Langley House Trust.

Since June 2020 she has been a Non-Executive Director, Board Member at Thames Reach, latterly nominated to sit on the Board of their newly formed subsidiary Housing Association.

She is a Non-Magistrate Member on the Kent Recruitment Advisory Committee Judicial Office, recruiting magistrates; via the CIPD she is an Enterprise Advisor supporting the Careers Leader at a local school and mentors on average three people a year via the CIPD’s Member to Member mentoring scheme, Charity Works and Housing Diversity Network.

We asked Olukemi about her voluntary roles and the value she derives from them.

What does your involvement give you?

  • Hope! There’s more to you than your current job role or title.  You can use the skills you have learned from your role and transfer these to a new environment. I was able to use my recruitment expertise to help recruit magistrates, and I also help the Boards I sit on by ensuring that people are high up the agenda.
  • Exposure to other sectors gives you a wider view and perspective. This helps to refresh and reshape your own thoughts and refine your development.
  • A continued learning opportunity.  For example, whenever I’m in board meetings I always make a note of other members’ questions to build my own knowledge and this gives me a bank of questions I can reflect on and draw on in other meetings.

How to choose the right volunteering role?

  • Spend time thinking about what the role will give you.  Recruiting magistrates gives me a wider perspective on society at large, and an insight into the Criminal Justice System.  By contrast, volunteering as an Enterprise Adviser allows me to understand how young people are making the transition into the world of work and how we in the business world can help.  I wanted to develop my strategic experience and sitting on a Board allows me to do that, whilst mentoring individuals into the next stage of their career helps me to understand more about people’s motivations and is also a rich and rewarding experience. In essence, any opportunity I take on fills a particular gap.
  • Recognise the unique voice and skills you bring to each role. It’s important to demonstrate the value that you can bring to the organisation and have the confidence to explain why you need a seat at that table.
  • Think about what you can commit to. I have paid volunteer leave days from my employer which I can break up into usable chunks of time.  I also know that most of my board meetings will take place in evenings and set limits on the mentees I take on in a year. Nowadays much is done virtually but do be realistic.
  • Be prepared for a steep learning curve at the start, but don’t be put off! There are plenty of things to support you including webinars, information, and guidance via the CIPD and elsewhere.
  • Talk to other NEDs and research the organisation to make sure it fits with you. Non-paid roles are a good way to ease in and many organisations are looking for individuals with people experience, so now is definitely the right time to start!

Find out how your volunteering supports your professional development and make your impact count. https://peopleprofession.cipd.org/get-started/impact-volunteering

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