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International Women’s Day: Meet the Women on Borough Care’s Board!

Today is International Women’s Day, and while we recognise, celebrate and appreciate every single woman working at Borough Care, today felt like a great time to tell you about our board and what makes it so unique!

Did you know that in the UK, on average only 39% of board positions are held by women? While there have been big improvements over the last ten years, there is still a long way to go when it comes to ensuring female voices are heard.

So, it might come as surprise to learn that at Borough Care, 83% of our board members are women! We have always appointed board members based on their skills and ability, but having more women on boards means a greater diversity of skills, experiences, opinions and strategies – and that means better governance, and better governance means better results for our residents and colleagues.

Here, we meet the women who are central to the decision-making that ensures Borough Care designs and delivers care that meets the needs of the communities we serve.

Isla Wilson: Chair of Borough Care’s Board

“Whilst women are typically under-represented at board-level in organisations, women make up most of our residents and workforce. It is vital that our organisation has a deep, and nuanced understanding of our residents, families and staff, and so female representation on the board is one of the ways we do this. Organisations that have more diverse boards have been shown to be more successful and innovative. That means we want to ensure that we have a board which is made up of people who have different experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. That might include their lived experience, their gender, their sexuality, race, neurodiversity, or any number of other characteristics. We did not set out to have a majority female board at Borough Care. But whilst it is a coincidence that we have so many women on the board, it is also wonderful to buck the trend, especially in an organisation where the experiences of women are so central to the work that we do.”

Rekha Patel-Harrison: Non-Executive Board Member

“People talk a lot about gender equality, but we very rarely see it in action and done authentically, so it feels hugely important to be on a board with so many other women. It’s nice to be living a reality that is not the norm! As a Woman of Colour, it’s feels great to be in an environment where that isn’t my default position – I’m not here so Borough Care can tick a box, I am here because of what I can offer the organisation. The job of the board is to never be satisfied. Our residents are human beings who we are caring for, so the board has to constantly ask itself ‘Are we satisfied?’ That’s what Borough Care is all about, constantly evolving and moving forward. “

Julie Sutton: Operations Director & Executive Board Member

“There have been many positive initiatives launched within Borough Care, such as The Menopause Project, which have come about as a direct result of having female representation on the board. Having women on our board has meant that feedback from our female staff and residents has not just been listened to, but has been implemented and driven positive change across the organisation.”

Tanja Willis: Non-Executive Board Member

“This is the first board I have been on where I don’t feel that I need to justify my position. It’s not a typical board structure here – and that makes it enjoyable. People can be authentic, and it is our expertise that matters. Each board meeting brings good challenges and good debate; we discuss ideas and viewpoints and respect each other’s diverse backgrounds. Gender doesn’t matter, it’s just about your experience. We interviewed for the role along with others, and we were the best choice! Our role is to make sure that the interests of all the stakeholders are met, while ensuring that residents remain the number one priority.”

Helen Gopsill: Non-Executive Board Member

“I’ve got so much respect for everyone on the board. You never doubt yourself or your credibility. Even challenging someone’s viewpoint is welcomed as it leads to healthy and open discussion. When I go home from a Borough Care board meeting, I find myself reflecting on what we discussed, having learned a lot from everyone else. Our job is to make sure the needs of the residents are at the heart of everything we do; the focus has to always be on the residents.”

About the Board

The board is responsible for ensuring that Borough Care designs and delivers care that meets the needs of the communities we serve. The board has overall responsibility for the future direction and success of Borough Care, and for ensuring that the organisation has everything in place so that we can deliver Life in Colour for residents now, and in the future. The board includes senior leaders in the organisation (including our CEO, Mark) and it also has several non-Executives. Non-Executives are people who bring in experience and knowledge from outside the organisation and hold senior leaders to account, on behalf of residents and families.