Tanya Castell

Tanya holds a portfolio of non executive directorship and trustee roles gained at a senior executive level, and has a strong background as a risk and regulatory professional in financial services with broad experience of leading change projects

Tanya talks of her recent board appointments

1. Details of Board Appointment
I had been a pension trustee twice before and was already chair of a charity in the Highlands but I secured my first paid non-executive director (NED) role in April 2012 with Scottish Canals, headquartered in Glasgow. Shortly after that I also secured two financial services NED roles, both of which required regulatory approval of my appointment, one with a global listed derivatives broker, Newedge UK, based in London and one with Multrees Investor Services providing specialist services to wealth managers and family offices based predominantly in Edinburgh.

2. What attracted you to the roles?
My background is financial services with expertise in risk management and corporate governance so the two financial organisations provided a good match and both were particularly interested in my risk skills. Scottish Canals on the other hand was effectively a new organisation where I could apply these skills in a new context which appealed to me. It also provides me with an opportunity to learn more about property, regeneration and tourism.

3. What strengths (personal/professional) did you highlight in the interview process?
In addition to my risk management and corporate governance expertise, I also focused on my broad financial markets and finance knowledge alongside strong leadership, extensive change management experience and attention to detail.

4. What were the benefits of approaching the role with the help of a Voluntary Mutual Support Group (CtC)?
For me it has been, and continues to be, great to have people to turn to for advice. Additionally members in the group have introduced me to other non executive directors which has extended my network – this is very important for a portfolio NED. The Board Journey events have also been very helpful in learning how others have developed their NED career and some of the challenges they have had to tackle as an NED.

5. What do you hope to achieve in the role?
I am still a relatively new NED and I continue to work on enhancing my boardroom skills as the role is quite different to being an executive….I do now chair a board committee for each organisation so that is progress! Asking the right challenging question is extremely important for NEDs but it takes practice to communicate such queries constructively. My risk background helps with this, but as an NED, you cannot ask all the questions you might want….you are not an executive and you are not responsible for day to day management. Therefore you have to consider which are the one or two most critical questions to focus on at a strategic level.