Trustee steps down, but definitely not out!

It is with a tinge of sadness that we announce the resignation of Karen Ramirez as one of our trustees. Karen has been involved with our charity since 2009, a trustee since 2010 and held the role of director of Business against Poverty for a good proportion of that time.

Whilst Karen is stepping down, she’s certainly not moving out. You may have noticed the increased amount of paper and digital press coverage we’ve received over the last few months and Karen, through her company Lingua, will continue to handle BaP/PaP’s PR requirements.  But before we move on, here’s Karen’s story about her time with us in her own words.

“When I first met Val and Bill, the film Slumdog Millionaire, based on a book by Vikras Sarup, was a recent hit, and People against Poverty and Lingua were operating under different names! I was asked to contribute to the production of a newsletter for the then recently-formed Business against Poverty and used Slumdog Millionaire for a headline article as it had prompted a huge increase in enquiries to charities about child sponsorship. At the time I commented: “I’m sure the writer and director weren’t thinking of building a marketing campaign – but maybe they were coming from the possibility of being able to touch, move and inspire others.” Business against Poverty had stoked this sentiment in me, and I feel the same way today.

Since then the UK has faced recession and organisations have had to embrace evolution – and sometimes revolution – to grow, keep supporters engaged, and attract new ones. PaP, Lingua – and, incidentally, Zeke Creative who were the designers and operated a former name too  – have evolved immeasurably since that newsletter, and that energy and innovation is what keeps me excited about PaP and BaP. This year alone, we have launched the UK project campaign and the BaP Business Skills Academy.   People against Poverty is in a great position for continued growth with substantial new projects in the pipeline and new trustees to support the team in delivering them. As a firm believer in succession planning, my stepping down makes space for new ideas, innovation and energy.

All of which brings me back to Vikas Swarup and his remarkable sense of zeitgeist! He recently released a novel, The Accidental Apprentice, and the prologue starts with the words: “In life you never get what you deserve: you get what you negotiate.” It tells the tale of a smart Indian shop assistant who is approached by one of India’s richest men to take over the job of CEO of his company – but first she has to pass seven unspecified tests. She demonstrates the moral fortitude of a young woman facing corruption and unrealistic expectations, but with an unparalleled opportunity to re-negotiate her lot.

To me, this is what PaP’s child sponsorship, alongside Dobrovat House and the agricultural, legal and educational projects deliver in our countries of operations – an opportunity for people to re-negotiate their default lot. At a point where I move on, Vikas Swarup has re-emerged as someone whose ideas once again resonate with me and my perception of and commitment to the charity.

From a business perspective, I believe that evolution is ongoing, succession planning secures the future of an organisation and ethical business practice combined with mutually beneficial business-charity partnerships reap commendable rewards for all concerned.  As I always say: it’s a handshake, not a handout! Thank you for all your support over the past five years.”

Our thanks go to Karen for her fantastic service and enduring commitment to our charity, and we look forward to working with her in the months and years ahead.

Bill Huxley, Chair of Trustees

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