Meet Our Board Member Peter O’Brien
In celebration of trustees’ week we caught up with one of our board members peter o’brien as he kindly shared his experience with us.
This week is Trustees’ Week and we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate our Cancer Fund for Children Trustees. These individuals bring a wealth of experience to the Board, playing an integral role within the charity as a whole. We rely on all our trustees to guide us and help make important organisational decisions.
Why did you choose to join the Cancer Fund for Children Board?
I have supported many charities in the past and I now wanted to join a charity board and share my experience of over 40 years from the world or work. I applied to join the Board of Cancer Fund for Children because I was excited by its great track record of care for children and families living with cancer. I also believed that I could help in some way to achieve its ambition to become a truly Island of Ireland charity. I was inspired by their simple and powerful vision – “No child should face cancer alone”.
Can you share a bit about your career to date and how it helps you as a Board Member?
I spent my first 20 years in the public service – in both government departments and semi state bodies. This has provided me with a good understanding of the key decision-making processes and the appropriate advocacy and campaigning approaches which I hope could deliver both policy and funding outcomes for Cancer Fund for Children.
For the second 20+ years, I worked both as a consultant and in-house with two leading global companies – Wyeth (now part of Pfizer) and Diageo in government relations, media affairs, public policy, sustainability and employee engagement. I would like to bring some of this experience of stakeholder mapping and engagement to bear in achieving the goals of Cancer Fund for Children.
What do you hope to achieve as a Cancer Fund for Children Board Member?
The delivery model of Cancer Fund for Children is simple and effective – to help, guide and support families at home, in their community and at Daisy Lodge. The work of every Board member is to strive that every child and family on the island of Ireland has access to care at home, in the community and at a Daisy Lodge in either Newcastle Co Down or Cong Co Mayo.
Would you encourage other executives to join the Board? If so, why?
The simple answer is yes. In a short space of time, I have found the experience of Board membership to be hugely positive. Charities face challenges every day, and they don’t have the financial resource of big business to solve them. Problem solving in a charity is exciting, frustrating and ultimately very rewarding.
In your opinion, what makes a good Trustee?
Whatever you are good at, bring that to the table. Understand enough of what the Charity does to both support the staff and yet be objective and questioning, as required. If the charity achieves its goals and nobody can name the trustees, then we will have done our job.