Kate Ferguson is the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Her commercial background means she brings a sharp focus on corporate governance to The Advocacy Project.
What experience do you bring to The Advocacy Project?
“I have a commercial and financial background. I trained to become a chartered accountant with KPMG before going on to roles such as finance director and chief financial officer in companies including Snoozebox and The Carbon Neutral Company. In order to govern an organisation well, we need a clear strategy, manage our resources effectively, take carefully calculated risks, and make sure we comply with legislation. My background means I can bring a sharp focus on corporate governance to The Advocacy Project.”
What do you like about being on the Board of Trustees?
“I joined the Board of Trustees as I’m keen to challenge the stigma around mental health. I didn’t expect to get involved as much as I have. The staff at The Advocacy Project are incredibly passionate about the change they bring about in people’s lives. There is a palpable positive energy about the place and this inspired me to get much more involved.
The board is diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, disability, and gender in addition to diversity of skills, life experience and ways of thinking about the world. This brings a deep empathy with our mission. Our diversity, coupled with the discipline of boiling complex matters down to their essence and expressing them simply, adds richness to the debate.
One third of our trustees are experts by experience. They draw upon the challenges they face in their daily lives to make sure those living with disabilities have a voice at the board table. It’s my role as Chair to make sure everyone’s views are heard and their skills are used effectively.
I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved to date. For me personally, the biggest task I’ve worked on as a trustee at was the merger of three charities to form the organisation we know and love. It was a great piece of strategic thinking that has served us well.
I am equally excited about the direction the organisation is going in. We’re doing much more to amplify the voices of the people we work with. We’re currently speaking with MPs about barriers people with learning disabilities face when looking for work.”
What do you do in your spare time?
“I love to travel, ski, watch rugby and cook. I’ve recently travelled around South and Central America. I also really enjoy living in London. I am Australian and came to the UK in 1997, initially on a two-year working visa; I liked it so much I ended up staying.”