Mindy Sawhney – Revitalise

Mindy Sawhney profilepic14 (3)Introducing Mindy Sawhney

Mindy is Chairman of disability charity Revitalise and a trustee of the British Scholarship Trust. She runs her own management consultancy practice, Root + Branch.

Originally trained as an economist, Mindy worked with all communities during the war in the former Yugoslavia, first providing emergency aid and then physical and social reconstruction initiatives. She particularly enjoys working with leaders to integrate ‘hard’ issues of strategy, structure and finance with ‘soft’ issues of engagement, leadership, and an organisation’s unwritten ‘rules of the game’.

She has worked with organisations including The World Bank, Bank of England, University of Brighton, Lloyds Banking Group and Amnesty International.

What does your organisation do?

Revitalise offers a unique service: three fully accessible holiday centres in England providing year-round respite holidays to people who need the security of 24-hour nurse-led care to be able to take a break. Guests get the opportunity to do the things any of us might choose on holiday …. go nightclubbing, take a flying lesson, a trip to the theatre or just to chill out and enjoy good food in a nice setting. Care is provided in order to enable guests living with conditions such as MS, cerebral palsy, brain injury, and dementia – to name just a few – to be able to do what they want.

Revitalise provides around 5000 breaks every year. The social and relationship aspects of the breaks are what guests tell us they value most – the opportunity to share the stories and gifts that lie within every person. We are hugely fortunate to benefit from a small army of volunteers. Revitalise operates the largest residential volunteer programme in the UK – and 85% of our nearly 2000 volunteers are under the age of 26.R logo

When and why did you become a Chair?

I became Chairman 5 ½ years ago when the charity was facing a number of very significant challenges. I felt that together with colleagues we could provide a sustainable future for a service that thousands of people rely upon, and that we had a number of tricky, interlocking things to get right in order to achieve it. That combination – something that matters and something that is a challenge – is pretty irresistible!

What do you most enjoy about chairing?

Staying focused on the prize and helping to set the stage for others to find the roles that allow them to make their fullest contribution, hopefully with a few laughs along the way.

Do you have a key tip or lesson to share with your fellow Chairs?

Make it possible for people to tell you things – about themselves, the charity, and you. Be passionately interested in every wrinkle and fold of your charity and its work – and be disciplined about what and when you choose to intervene.

Why did you join AoC?

The quality of chairing can be a decisive factor in the impact charities can make with the resources entrusted to them – and it is a distinct role with specific responsibilities. As a Chair, I need a body that helps develop my thinking and that of the wider sector about how to do this role well.