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Board Composition and Inclusion

Hear from Dowshan Humzah, Chair of the Overcoming MS Board of Trustees, about the board composition and inclusion.

Why Overcoming MS exists

At Overcoming MS, our vision is for a world in which living a full and healthy life with MS is possible. Flowing from this, our purpose is to enable everyone with MS to achieve optimal health by being able to take control of their health and wellbeing through making informed lifestyle choices.

Our very essence is about ‘giving hope and optimism to people with MS’. To this end, our core objectives are to inform, support, empower and collaborate.

How we work

Helping us in our endeavours, we have a fantastic team of employees, contractors, facilitators, partners and volunteers, including our board of Trustees, all working together to serve our MS community and to fulfil our purpose.

For Overcoming MS, though, it is not only the work we do that’s important but the way we work too. With that in mind, we are committed to ensuring an open and inclusive environment where everybody working with us feels a genuine sense of belonging.

Some of Overcoming MS Board of Trustees
Some of Overcoming MS Board of Trustees

Expanding the diversity of the Overcoming MS board

We are also looking to expand our Overcoming MS board in 2023, bringing in more Trustees with a broader set of skills and characteristics. Our current small board comprises the core founding Directors and a couple more of us with a variety of skills, backgrounds and lived experience. However, we are seeking to broaden representation on the board through the recruitment of additional Trustees to better reflect the communities we serve, and the range of skills required – such as fundraising, clinical practice, advocacy, digital and legal matters – to enable the board to be ever more successful in providing oversight, insight and foresight on behalf of our MS community.

Diversity can take many forms, including gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and disability status, among various other characteristics. Then, there is what I call Diversity of ‘POETS’ (Perspective, Outlook, Experience, Thought, Sector and Social Background) – some refer to this as cognitive diversity and the ability to think creatively and differently.

The Overcoming MS Trustees
The Overcoming MS Trustees

Lived experience of MS – be it directly or as a carer or healthcare provider – is critical in terms of board representation in order to ensure that the board has a deeper understanding of the needs and challenges of the MS community. Additionally, a diverse board can help the organisation build trust with a broader range of stakeholders, including donors, healthcare professionals, community members, and partner organisations.

Of course, this has all to be balanced with complementary skills; shared values; and the ability and commitment to work together to achieve the organisation’s objectives for the benefit of the MS community.

Dowshan Humzah

Chair of Board of Trustees