Meet the Trustees

Tony Vardy chairs the Board of Trustees of CB Plus.

He has introduced our new monthly feature in the Newsletter, profiling each Trustee in turn. 

This month’s conversation is with Michael Lassman.

Tony Vardy (TV): It’s good to speak to you, Michael. Tell us a little about your work and family life outside CB Plus.

Michael Lassman (ML): I’ve been working as an adviser to a number of organisations, mainly in the areas of diversity and inclusion best practice training. Before Covid, it was all face-to-face, but now there has been a lot of online work as well.

Most recently, a lot of my work has been in Ireland where I seem to have developed a strong reputation, so I find myself travelling there regularly.

For the past six years I’ve been the London Regional Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, engaging with local and national organisations to represent the interests of this sector. But I will reach the end of my term on this soon.

We have one son who is now based in central France, converting a hundred-year old farm for an interactive theatrical project. My daughter got married last year and now lives in Oxfordshire, and I’m privileged to have both parents still in my life.

TV: How did you first become a Trustee with CB Plus?

ML: I have known Julie Pal [CEO of CB Plus] for many years, and she approached me at just the right time for me to become a Trustee in terms of time availability and wanting to give something back to the community. I was involved in some of the precursor organisations to Community Barnet and I’ve always had a lot of other voluntary activities – for example helping people with learning difficulties. So this was a role I was keen to undertake.

TV: What is your current role as a Trustee?

ML: My primary role on the Board is to Chair the Business Development and Innovation Committee. This is a group which includes several Trustees and some of the leadership team of CB Plus, and we are looking at the potential for growth, identifying new opportunities and trying to be creative about the potential of the organisation. It’s an excellent group of people producing lots of ideas, and with huge scope for the future.

TV: How would you describe your experience as a Trustee – any particularly memorable points?

ML: The aspect of the role I would highlight above all others is the professionalism of the staff. I’ve worked with so many voluntary organisations, and very often the management is poor. But at CB Plus, I have been astounded by the quality, and that goes throughout the team.

If I have to pick out one disappointment, it’s been the loss of some key contracts where we were clearly best placed to undertake the work, but the commissioners seem to have taken a very short-term view. I understand that financial criteria are very important in making these

selections, but sometimes I wish those making the decision took broader factors more fully into account.

TV: What do you see as the biggest challenge for CB Plus from here?

ML: It’s a very exciting challenge – to decide who we are! We have huge potential in the coming years and can make some big choices about our direction of growth. With the breadth of our activity now across different boroughs and in supporting very varied services, we have a great starting point for the next stage of our journey, and I’m really excited by being a part of the group.

TV: Many thanks, Michael.

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