Blog > Oh! Trustee’s Interview: Asma Shah

Oh! Trustee’s Interview: Asma Shah

Asma is the Founding CEO of Ladies Who L-EARN, a charity based in Bethnal Green that empowers young unemployed women with the confidence, skills, networks, knowledge and experiences needed to lead financially independent and happy lives. Her taste for creating programmes of work that make exciting change have been seen previous to setting up LWL in roles for Islington 14-19 Partnership, Roundhouse, Channel 4, Skillset and New Opportunities Fund (now Big Lottery). Asma is passionate about arts, culture and creativity, and is a fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme. She has lived locally for almost 20 years and joined OH Board in January 2015.

I want to maintain that community spirit. I’ve lived in Bethnal Green for just short of 20 years and Oxford House has been a part of my life here. With so many changes in the East End, including growing gaps and lines drawn between rich and poor, White and non-White in terms of housing and cultural/ social spaces, I see Oxford House as one of the community places which bring people from all walks of life together. This is something I feel passionately about and want to ensure continues.

We’re in need of a helping hand. OH is deserving of so much more resource /infrastructure support than it is currently able to lever in. It runs on a tight budget, making every penny work, and with a very lean staff structure, but if it’s really to remain strong and relevant, then we need more support!

Having a dedicated team is the key to success. The best thing is being able to take a step back and reflect on how well the organisation is doing. It’s also great to be working within such a hands on and passionate group of other trustees, and a CEO who is very committed to OH. The worse thing is never feeling that there’s enough time to do everything that’s wanted or needed.

You’ve got to be able to truly commit. Make sure you’re only becoming a trustee for an organisation you feel passionately about, and that you have the time for. There’s nothing worse for a charity than having trustees who are there in name but not in person.

Text: Leah Abraham