Trustees’ Week: Meet Dr Ira Laketic-Ljubojevic

6th – 10th November is Trustees’ Week, so we’ve spoken to our Chair of the Board, Dr Ira Laketic-Ljubojevic, about what it’s like to be a trustee at Yorkshire Children’s Centre.  It’s also Living Wage Week so we spoke to her about why Fresh Futures is proud to be a real Living Wage Employer.

Tell us a little bit about yourself Ira.

I was born and raised in Sarajevo, Former Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina), where I studied medicine before the outbreak of the civil war. I was lucky enough to escape the troubles in the Balkans in the late 1992 and come to the UK where I completed my education and progressed my career within the public and charitable sectors. Having experienced adversity myself – including experiencing war and homelessness as a young female, my ambition is about improving people’s experience, quality of life and wellbeing by enabling and enhancing information and support offered that tackles inequalities and isolation, and facilitates inclusion, independence and choice.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about and committed to creating a positive lasting difference that will benefit people – especially vulnerable, disadvantaged, and marginalised groups, as well as the wider society. I care about people. That is the driving force behind my passion for equity, quality and improvements. In all my work to date I have been raising awareness of and tackling inequalities and doing my utmost to create conditions for and support culture of inclusiveness and equity of opportunity for all. Participating actively and with accountability, in life and in work, is what I am keen to do with my life. I have a zeal for safety, quality, equality and inclusion, with a focus on accountability, governance, learning and continuous improvement – I am driven by a need for continuous improvements, both personal and organisational.

Why did you decide to become a trustee at YCC?

Fresh Futures is the charity that supports vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people, and their families. Its vision is for all young people to have opportunities for a better life, now and in the future. That target audience and beneficiaries and those objectives are something that resonate strongly with me and I simply needed to be involved and see how I can be of help and contribute to the accomplishment of the organisation’s objectives.

How do the trustees at Fresh Futures work together to support the charity and its staff?

We are a team and we work as a team. We, as both individuals and the group, bring a range of expertise, insights, experience and understandings to the table that support the work and the wider outcomes of the organisation. We work closely with the leadership team to ensure strategic approaches for the organisation and the governance are sound and effective.

It’s also Living Wage Week and Fresh Futures is a Living Wage employer, why is it important to you that Fresh Futures has signed the pledge to pay its employees real Living Wage?

It is very important that people who work for our organisation are properly recognised for their hard work, loyalty and contribution; for the difference they make. Salary is one part of that recognition. It is important to me that there is an equality of opportunity for everyone and that includes the concept that everyone can earn a salary that meets every day’s basic needs, regardless of where they are in the organisational hierarchy. As a charity, we do great things and help some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people within our society. We also want to be a good employer and behave in alignment with our values. One way we demonstrate that we value our teams is by paying them a real living wage.

What are the three most important qualities for a trustee to have?

Integrity, passion for the cause, and empathy. Of course, there are many valuable qualities a trustee can demonstrate but to me those three are most important.

Finally, for anyone who’s considering become a trustee, what advice would you give them?

Go for it if you are given an opportunity. You will make a difference. Giving time, knowledge, empathy and energy can help overcome some of society’s most complex problems and build stronger communities, enabling individuals to improve their experiences and quality of life. Trustees as volunteers make a real, tangible, lasting and positive difference to people’s lives and it is great that so many people are engaged with various causes as trustees.

Thank you Ira for your time talking to us, and for the contributions you and the rest of the Board make to Fresh Futures on a daily basis.