Trustees’ Week – Julia Cole

Julia has been a senior business leader in the printing industry for over 30 years. She was HP’s World Wide Brand Innovation Manager where she led the sales, marketing, and training tools for HP graphics customers to grow their businesses. She was formerly the HP EMEA Manager for Dscoop, HP’s Graphics user group and previously Head of Marketing in the UK. She worked with the BPIF to establish its graduate training programme and spent 12 years at Xerox.

  1. When did you become a trustee?

I was appointed as a trustee in 2015.

  1. Why did you become a trustee?

I have had a great relationship with the charity for many years. My introduction to it was in a business context through meeting members of the charity’s team at industry events. I was keen to support its work as the sector’s occupational charity and felt the best way I could do that was by sharing my industry and business experience. When I was asked if I would become a trustee, I accepted as it was a natural progression to a much closer involvement with the charity.

  1. What is the best thing about being a trustee?

The charity is here to help people of all ages in our sector in genuine need so the best thing is definitely being able to play a part in helping the charity to flourish and increase the number of people it helps year-on-year through new initiatives.

  1. What does your role as a trustee involve?

Trustees are responsible and accountable for the charity’s governance, ensuring it is well run and complies with regulation. The safeguarding element of governance is especially important as the charity owns and manages two sheltered home schemes for people, who have retired from the sector. We are also responsible for the charity’s overall strategic direction so that it continues to make a positive difference to people’s lives. As a trustee, my industry and business experience lends itself to building links between the industry and the charity to help it achieve its aims.

  1. What would you say are the important attributes a trustee should have?

Integrity, without a doubt, and as a trustee you have to be prepared to make difficult decisions at times. You also need to be willing to share your expertise and knowledge to benefit the charity.

  1. What do you think is the biggest challenge currently facing charities?

Unfortunately, over the past few years there have been some negative comments about charities in the media but there is a huge number of charities doing an amazing job and making a very real difference to people’s lives.

  1. How has The Printing Charity changed since you’ve been a trustee?

The charity is focusing its work on two areas, Welfare & Wellbeing and Education & Partnerships, to help us achieve our aim of extending our reach and impact.

  1. What impact does the role of a trustee have on the charity?

It has a powerful impact in the way it brings together people with different expertise. Our trustees’ skills range from finance and print production to marketing and business. Having a good balance of skill sets and experience makes for a very effective board of trustees.

  1. If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about becoming a trustee what would it be?

Just roll up your sleeves and get on with it. You’ll find it so rewarding. I’ve had a fabulous career in print and being a trustee of the sector’s occupational charity is one of the ways I can give something back. The charity’s Print Futures Awards scheme to help attract and retain the new generation especially resonates with me as I’m passionate about encouraging new talent and achieving a more balanced workforce in the sector.

  1. How important do you think the relationship between the chairman and the chief executive is for a charity?

It’s absolutely critical that the chairman and chief executive have a good relationship. There has to be trust on both sides.

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