Mary Duffy

Mary Duffy develops and supports work aimed at positive social impact and is a fellow of the UK’s Clore Social Leadership Programme. Committed to good governance, Mary has several non-executive positions, advisory roles to a grantmaking board and to the BBC Trust, and is a founding group member at Changing The Chemistry.

Mary talks about the new role she has recently accepted.

1. Details of Board Appointment
I joined the Social Enterprise Academy in early 2013. The Academy is an accredited Institute for Leadership and Management (ILM) Centre and offers internationally recognised qualifications in Europe, Africa and Australia. It delivers programmes in Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Measurement for staff, chief executives and board members of entrepreneurial start-ups and mature organisations. It also delivers programmes to young people in schools and beyond.

2. What attracted you to the roles?
I had one trustee role already, as well as committee/advisory roles for the BBC Trust and for a large grantmaking foundation. I wanted to increase my social impact through more strategy work and thought another board role would be good for this so I was looking around generally. When I saw the SEA opportunity it was perfect because I am passionate about the work they do, I know they have a great operational team, and I’d seen the skilled, committed and ambitious way in which their CEO worked. Their board already contained a strong set of people with impressive track records and I thought I could both offer and gain a lot in working with them.

3. What strengths, both personal and professional, did you highlight in the interview process?
My up to date knowledge of the field of social investment; my wide networks across various areas of relevance; my ability to think laterally, strategically and to ask challenging and constructive questions.

4. What were the benefits of approaching the role with the help of a Voluntary Mutual Support Group (CtC)
Being part of CtC has given me a much more diverse set of connections that were helpful in terms of confidence, knowledge, technical expertise around governance and general interpersonal support. My coaching work helped me become much more focussed as I moved from a mainstream salaried role to a wider portfolio career. My sessions with an executive search expert were very useful in honing my cv and streamlining my values statement. Being part of CtC itself demonstrated interest and activity around issues of governance, which helped improved my profile for the board role.

5. What do you hope to achieve in the role
SEA has ambitious growth plans and I hope to be part of developing a wider reach across new countries. I want to see SEA internationally exporting first class social enterprise knowledge and skills and supporting delivery through local networks. I want SEA to help Scotland deliver on its aspiration to be a global centre of excellence in social enterprise.

Within Scotland, I want to ensure that SEA maintains and stretches quality and reach in its product suite, strengthens its position with funders, government and (potential) learners, and improves its financial sustainability.