Diversity focus: Age in leadership
The numbers reflect the difficulty of balancing the need for years of experience in business, or perhaps in property development, law or finance, with creating a representative board.
For those housing associations that are actively trying to recruit younger people to their boards, including the talents and perspectives of a range of age groups is important.
Town & Country Housing Group has the youngest board member, at 22 years old (she preferred not to be named for this story). A tenant board member, she was given training and mentoring for 12 months before being appointed in November. “It goes without saying that the group continues to support her ongoing learning in the role,” a spokesperson says.
However, other younger board members are not typically tenant representatives, and work in business and finance, as accountants and chartered surveyors.
Nottingham Community Housing Association has one of the youngest board members - Caroline Swann, a trainee solicitor. Her appointment was a result of the board setting up an ‘associate board member’ programme specifically to encourage younger applicants, after which she became a full board member last year.
Dr Nigel Nice, chair of Nottingham Community’s board, says: “I think it brings a range of experience, and a range of understanding of some of the issues.”