Trustees' Week 2016 - meet the people behind MAAC
This week we’re celebrating Trustees’ Week (7th and 13th November). As a charity, our Board is made up of volunteers known as Trustees. They ultimately share the responsibility for governing our organisation, and directing how it is managed and run.
Each day we will introduce you to one of our Trustees, starting with Brendan Connor, Chairman of the Board:
Name: Brendan Connor
I spent most of my career in the aerospace and automotive engineering industry with Lucas, and finally as CEO of Cosworth Racing, enjoying the delights of Formula 1, World Rally Car Racing and many other means of mechanical propulsion at very high speed!
What roles does a Trustee undertake on behalf of a charity?
The role of a Trustee is often misunderstood as it involves a personal responsibility for the charity and its wellbeing in the short and long term, and that requires an inquiring attitude and a willingness to make difficult decisions.
Why did you want to become a charity Trustee?
I became a charity trustee many years ago when I was elected by parents as a governor of an independent school where my daughters were pupils. I intended to stand down when they left, but ended up as Chairman and stayed on the Board for 12 years! I have also been a Trustee and Deputy Chairman of the RAF Museum at Hendon and Cosford for ten years.
Why did you choose to apply for a Midlands Air Ambulance Charity (MAAC) trusteeship?
I applied to become Chairman of MAAC when it was separated from the ambulance service and became an independent charity. I was always interested in aviation and MAAC was an ideal combination of challenge in becoming a well governed independent charity, public recognition and affection and long term strategic development for sustainability.
What projects have you led on for the charity?
I have been very lucky in having excellent fellow Trustees who have become part of a very strong management team which has enabled us to create a robust strategic plan and financial framework . This has allowed us to purchase our first aircraft and develop the doctor-led service across our fleet of three aircraft.
What are you especially proud of in your time as a Trustee?
The most important challenge is to maintain the absolute confidence of the public we serve and who provide all our funding. This means we have to maintain the highest ethical standards in all we do from fundraising to transparency in the way we spend our resources. If we lose the trust of the public then we will have done enormous damage to our most precious asset.
What are the challenges facing Trustees (in general) and your thoughts on how Trustees face these challenges?
At its simplest, if we lose the support of the public then a vital service to those in extreme need will vanish. Everyone remembers the Alton Towers Smiler incident, if we had not been there then the outcomes would have been very different. Everyday there are people who we help who are just as much in need as those who were in the passenger cars on the Smiler Ride, be they in a road traffic accidents or engaging in a recreational pursuit such as horse riding or walking in the countryside. These occasions do not get the publicity but several times everyday our doctors and paramedics are there when they are needed.
What do you like to do outside of work / your trusteeship?
I have a range of outside interests ranging from an environmental consultancy, to working with West Midlands Police and sitting as a magistrate, and as an independent member of the Armed Forces Pay Review Board.