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Paul Stennett joined BSR as a lay trustee in 2017 while Chief Executive Officer of UKAS, having had a distinguished career in the food industry. Here he tells us why he wanted to get involved with BSR and offers advice for anyone thinking about putting themselves forward for a similar role.


Tell us a little about why you decided to volunteer your time to BSR?

My New Year resolution for 2017 was to take early retirement in July 2018. I thought it would be interesting to take on a non-executive role once I'd retired. I started to look at various sites to see what opportunities there might be and that's where I saw an advert from BSR.


Having grown up seeing my father suffer badly with rheumatoid arthritis in the 1960s, when the only drug available was ibuprofen, what made the advert so appealing was the opportunity to do something for an organisation that represented a professional body treating a disease that had sadly impacted my father's life so drastically. In April 2017, somewhat earlier than planned, I became one of BSR's first lay trustees.


How much time does this role take up and what is your role?

Typically, 8-10 days a year. I attend committee meetings where I hope to apply knowledge gained throughout my career in business to support the Board of Trustees and senior management team on topics as diverse as corporate governance, financial oversight and investment policies to ensure robust protection of the Society's assets. From time to time, lay trustees may also be asked to support activities outside of board meetings and most recently I've been supporting the establishment of BSR's Quality Review Scheme.


What have you gained by being involved with BSR?

It's always good to look at what other organisations do, and it has been a privilege to be involved. It's been both interesting and personally rewarding to see the progress in treatments and the way in which the patient pathway has developed since my father's time. I also think that BSR sets an excellent example as a professional body representing clinicians working at all levels in rheumatology as well as encompassing adult and paediatric and adolescent rheumatology. Since joining BSR, it's been most rewarding to observe the positive changes and desire for continuous improvement in the organisation.


What is your advice for anyone thinking about getting more involved with BSR?

Do it. Organisations like BSR will be all the better for your input as a lay trustee, especially if you can also offer some patient experience. It's personally rewarding, and the time commitment is very small.