Jacqui McKinlay brings to the table a professional background in communications, marketing and governance.
What experience do you bring to The Advocacy Project?
“I started my career in the civil service, before working in communications at the Health Education Authority and the Sports Council. I then joined Staffordshire County Council, as Head of Communications. By the time I left, I was Director of Strategy and Customer Services.
Health has been a long-term interest and as a student I worked with people with learning disabilities. While I’ve been fortunate not to have direct experience of mental health issues, I’ve been close to people who have, so I appreciate how difficult it can be.
Before becoming a trustee, I worked with The Advocacy Project in my role as Chief Executive of the Centre for Public Scrutiny. What struck me most is that the charity treats everyone as an individual and adapts its advocacy work to support them. That’s how advocacy should work. It’s not just seeing people as numbers. We stick with them throughout their journey.
I’ve always been interested in giving people a voice. My communications and marketing background focused on making sure local people had a say in decisions about their support. This two-way process is what The Advocacy Project is all about. I’ve also learned that some people are heard more easily than others. The Advocacy Project makes sure those who need help get the right support at the right time.”
What do you like about being on the Board of Trustees?
“The trustee role appealed to me because of the diversity of the board. It’s not simply that the organisation listens to the voices of people who use their services – those voices are there in the room at board level. There’s also a wide range of employees. This rare commitment to diversity is a real strength.
One of my priorities is to ensure we’ve got the right systems and information in place to build strong governance. That’s not just ticking boxes, but making sure we stick to our purpose and focus on the charity’s aims.
I would also like to raise our profile. The organisation does lots of great work. By talking about it we can influence more widely, and support others by attracting more work and income.”
What do you do in your spare time?
“I have three children and spend a lot of time travelling for work so that doesn’t leave me with much spare time… but I do try to exercise to balance out the chocolate consumption!”