About Mind

Mind is a mental health charity.  We are here to ensure that everyone with a mental health problem receives both support and respect.

Luc Jones Photography_-49Introducing Mind’s Chair, Ryan Campbell

Ryan, like a very large proportion of the population, has personal experience of mental health problems.

He has worked in the voluntary sector all of his career, including with older people’s organisations, and most recently in the substance misuse field.  He is currently Chief Executive of a regional drug, alcohol and mental health charity in the South-East of England, and is about to change roles to be CEO of a children and young people’s hospice organisation.

What does your organisation do?

Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.  It campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.  It does this within a network of more than 140 local Minds, which provide specialist support and care in their communities.  This means that Ryan is one Mind Chair amongst more than 140 others.

Why did you become a Chair?

Surprisingly, this is a difficult question.  Like any volunteering role there are a complex range of reasons why someone would do something with quite a lot of expectation and responsibility, but great fulfilment, for no money.  In short, it’s something I thought I could do well, and the best way I could give something to a cause and organisation which truly makes society a better place.  When I’m on my deathbed, this will be one of the things I will look back on as giving my life real meaning.  If that’s not too dramatic.

What do you most enjoy about chairing?

Being in a key role in an organisation you have such admiration and gratitude for is a huge privilege.  I like the feeling of believing in a strategy, and being part of the team that puts it together and keeps us to achievement of it.  On a day to day basis, like any job you enjoy, I like the people I work with.

Do you have any key tips or lessons to share with your fellow chairs?

More than in a paid senior role you have to be open to and encourage different views to come forward and be considered, even those you might not agree with.  Being a Chair is about co-ordinating, facilitating and stewarding good decisions, more than it is about coming up with them and fighting your own corner.

Try to manage a Board of trustees who contribute to the organisation in their own right (which is distinct from meddling).  Boards are usually made up of diverse and skilled people; ask yourselves how you can best add value to the organisation.  Otherwise you’re just asking questions.

An obvious one: in meetings, make sure you get all the business done and finish on time.  It’s the core basic skill of chairing.  No-one will have faith in you as a concert pianist if you can’t play chopsticks.

Why did you join the AoC?

I need a network; people from outside my day to day who can challenge the way I do things and give me things to think about.  You don’t often meet other chairs so that’s a rare opportunity.

March 2015