LELAN Board Membership: Bec's Experience
LELAN is currently inviting members of our organisation to nominate to be on the Board. Below Rebecca, elected Board Member December 2019 and current Secretary, shares their experience.
Tell us about yourself and why you wanted to join the LELAN Board:
My name is Rebecca (She/Her), and I have been a LELAN Board member for two years. My day job is working in public mental health services, where I coordinate consumer, carer and community engagement for acute and community services. I also support a team of Lived Experience staff who work all across metropolitan Adelaide in peer support roles.
I had been volunteering my time with LELAN since I became involved in the lived experience space as a peer worker in 2019. I helped deliver training to people with lived experience in the areas of sharing your story and lived experience leadership with LELAN. I really enjoyed that experience and loved being around so many people with lived experience, and I decided to nominate for the Board in late 2019.
I wanted to be more involved in the organisation that was championing issues that were important to me, such as lived experience engagement, peer-led initiatives and systemic advocacy to improve mental health care.
What has your experience of being on the LELAN board involved?
The Board meets once a month for two hours. We discuss strategic and financial reports, hear from Ellie the Executive Director on new projects, and discuss future opportunities for LELAN. In the past year, I have taken on the role of Secretary, which has involved a short monthly meeting with the Chair, Deputy Chair and Treasurer to discuss the agenda and upcoming meeting.
Being on the Board is an ongoing commitment to showing up and bringing your lived experience and skill set, but I’ve found that I’ve been able to balance Board, work and personal commitments with ease.
Governance aside, I’ve made new friendships on the Board and been involved with many different projects such as ALEL, LEDGE, suicide prevention project and connecting through COVID.
What advice would you give to people wanting to apply to the Board?
I would say – think about what skills and lived experience you can bring to the Board. Everyone has a diversity of experiences that could be helpful on a board. For example, my background in creative arts, consumer engagement and working in public mental health services have been useful. My lived experiences of public and private services, entering the MH system as a young person and access to emergency care have all informed the decisions I’ve made on the Board.
Setting aside time to read the papers before each meeting gives you time to think of questions and concerns to raise at the meeting. If you can identify issues you are passionate about, for me, it was alternatives to emergency departments. You can volunteer some time outside of board meetings to support consultations, surveys and projects related to your area of interest.
What are you proudest of from your time on the LELAN Board?
One of my proudest moments was being involved in developing the program that became LEDGE (The Lived Experience Development, Governance and Education Project). I contributed to early discussions with the Board on the need for lived experience leadership programs, positions and education. I was passionate about empowering people with lived experience to grow their leadership skills and take up membership on boards, committees and projects.
I believe that radical change will come from having people with lived experience involved at every level of governance, and LEDGE is an essential step towards this.
In 2020, LELAN applied and successfully gained an Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grant from the Department of Social Services. I felt very proud of my contribution to the project and LELAN as an organisation leading the transformational change that will come from lived experience involvement at all levels.
Connecting with the LELAN Team:
If you have questions about becoming a member, updating your membership or nominating to be a Board Member contact the LELAN team via email@example.com or 0431 953 526.