Prakash Shankar

Prakash Shankar talks to CtC about his board appointments and drive to supporting governance in organisations whose aims and values accord with his own.

Prakash’s day job is Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist currently working at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, with specialist interest in managing complex conditions that straddle physical and mental illness using holistic approaches.

  1. Details of Board Appointments

I’m on the boards of the national charity Cruse Bereavement Scotland (CBS) and the BBC award winning mental health charity Common Wheel.

  1. What attracted you to the roles?

Both these board positions are in organisations that cater to people with distress in the context of mental health. This is very close to my day job as a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist in the NHS where I come across significant hardships faced by people that might not have a clinical solution but might benefit from compassion and care offered by the third sector. I was impressed by the selfless service offered by volunteers in these organisations that helps build resilience in society. I felt that the breadth of experience and knowledge in my field can help these organisations in their efforts to professionalise their governance procedures. It was also an opportunity for me to attempt putting into practice some of the skills that I had acquired during the last year of my MBA with specialism in leadership.

  1. What strengths, both personal and professional, did you highlight in the interview process?

If there is one word to describe what I highlighted during the process, it would be ‘compatibility’. During the interview process, I discussed my extensive experience in the field of health sciences, my enthusiasm towards governance of charitable organisations and ability to contribute as a team player. By walking through some practical examples and experiences, I was also able to show my ability to align organisational vision and strategy with decision making and to perform under pressure.

  1. What were the benefits of approaching the role with the help of a Voluntary Mutual Support Group (CtC)?

The benefit of approaching the role with the help of an organisation such as CtC is that you are much better prepared for the role. An organisation like CtC gives an individual enough credence to exude confidence and choose the right role at the right time in your career.  CtC provided me with an objective sounding board that helped me articulate my strengths with greater clarity and to gain more confidence with my choices.

  1. What do you hope to achieve in the role?

With dwindling resources and increasing demand, I remain amazed by the resolve of these organisations which seem to be fuelled by sheer goodwill and ‘can do’ attitude of its people.  It is my hope that I will be able to play my part as a board member at both CBS and Common Wheel in supporting continual improvement and engendering a high level of engagement in the workplace that translates to success and better outcomes overall.  I also anticipate that the role will help me to gain valuable experience in navigating the challenging nature of running a charitable organisation.