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Lived experience should be equal to professional experience, trustee says

During recruitment lived experience should be viewed as equal to learned expertise, charity trustee Ambreen Shah has said. Shah is non-executive director at The Smallwood Trust, a charity that works to help women to become financially resilient. She was speaking at Trustee Exchange, an event organised by Civil Society Media, on a panel called “Lived experience on non-profit boards”.

She was joined by charity professionals Stephanie Papapavlou, Peter Olawaye and Kate Hitchcock. Shah said: “Often you recruit people because of their practice and learned expertise, because they have knowledge of the legal system or because they have experiences of audits.” It is not often that people are recruited for their lived experience, Shah suggested – but for their professional experience.

She said: “What we need to do is value lived experience expertise on the same level as that of learned and practised expertise, so when we are looking for skills and experience, lived experience can be one of those.”

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