Chair of the Board Svetlana Ignatieva tells us what she’s learned from her 10 years as a Mayhew trustee.
Trustees are the people who have overall responsibility for governing charities like Mayhew, working together with the staff team to deliver the organisation’s charitable objectives. Trustees have a legal obligation to ensure the charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit, complying with laws and managing its resources responsibly.
For as long as I remember, I’ve always loved animals. As a child, I helped my mum look after homeless dogs on the streets of Moscow. When my work took me to Chicago and Amsterdam, I volunteered in animal shelters and adopted two cats. But I realised that sheltering and rehoming are not sustainable solutions to the problem of animal overpopulation, especially in some of the more challenging overseas locations, so when I moved to London I looked for an organisation that was doing something to prevent the problem in the first place. I found out about Mayhew’s work in Russia by searching online and was really impressed with the International Vet Training Programme. First, I started volunteering in the cattery, and soon after joined the Board of Trustees.
I am a chartered accountant and worked in business for many years before transitioning my career to the charity sector. I’m now COO for a large international wildlife conservation organisation, which allows me to bring relevant skills and share knowledge of how other charities are run. Trustees are a valuable resource as they can often bring additional skills and experiences that smaller charities may not be able to recruit for directly. The Mayhew board has professionals from finance, IT, legal, marketing and veterinary sectors supporting the staff team at Mayhew in carrying out our mission.
It is exceptionally rewarding to be a trustee and use your skills for a cause you care about. You need to be willing to give sufficient time to prepare for and attend board and committee meetings (which are often on weekends), support the staff, fundraise, volunteer at events and always champion the wonderful work of the charity.
“For as long as I remember, I’ve always loved animals. As a child, I helped my mum look after homeless dogs on the streets of Moscow.”
I have been a trustee for over 10 years, and it has been so exciting to see Mayhew grow and develop, expanding its impact both in the UK and overseas. I’m very proud to be part of the team and contribute in a small way to that success. One of the strongest memories was joining Mayhew International on a recent trip to Georgia and seeing first-hand how the work of our vets alleviates animal suffering on the ground. And my favourite event was adopting a little three-legged puppy from a scrappy, mangy and sad beginning. Miro is now a healthy, confident and fun-loving young dog, a much-loved member of our family and a great ambassador for Mayhew and all rescue animals.
The support of our new Patron is invaluable and a huge testament to the exceptional work of Mayhew. We all very much look forward to working with HRH The Duchess of Sussex to shine a light on Mayhew’s work and help more animals and communities.
If you think you have skills to offer Mayhew, whether as a trustee or in one of our many other volunteer roles, let us know.tell us more
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