Silka Patel

1. Details of Board Appointment
Silka is a strategic marketing expert, with 15 years’ experience of working within the travel & IT industry and now works as Thought Leadership Marketing Manager with Cisco Systems. Silka is also Founder & Chair of Scotland Women in Technology and has recently been appointed to the board of Glasgow Women’s Library.

2. What attracted you to the role?
Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) had a personal appeal as I’m interested in the work it does in preserving women’s history and also the incredible range of work it does with communities in Glasgow and across Scotland. As this will be my first board position I felt that it would be a good foundation post. The position was attainable and also manageable from the point of view of the time commitment required. And there are a no conflicts in the role with either my current executive role or my position with the Scotland Women in Technology Group.

It also came at the right time for me. I feel that I am at the right age and have the right level of experience and maturity to add value to the organisation. I also think that I am at the right point to be able to learn from a board role which will add value to my cv and to my executive career.

I intend to build my NED portfolio and to continue with my executive career and to achieve executive board positions. This experience with GWL will allow me to build my career and be a good solid base for future advancement.

3. What strengths (personal/professional) did you highlight in the interview process?
At a professional level, my creativity and expertise in strategic planning. I also felt that it was crucial to convey my passion and enthusiasm for the GWL project. I think that this is a really important point; to be able to demonstrate a connection with the organisation at interview. This is particularly important in this case as this is an unpaid role and one has to be highly motivated to take on the additional responsibility of a board position without the prospect of monetary gain.

4. What were the benefits of approaching the role with the help of a Voluntary Mutual Support Group (CtC)
The support from the women and men who form Changing the Chemistry has been immense. The networking has been invaluable and the connections made will, I’m sure, continue to be important as I continue with my non-executive and executive career. The shared values of the group and commitment to peer-to-peer in the long term is important too. On a practical note, with respect to this appointment, the value of the individual coaching, cv support, interview practice and sharing real experiences with others building their own NED portfolio cannot be under-estimated. This support would have cost a small fortune in attending courses yet the peer-to-peer nature of CtC makes all this available for free.

5. What do you hope to achieve in the role
I hope to help GWL continue and grow. The organisation has recently celebrated it’s 25 years anniversary, launched it’s first dedicated publication and moved to new premises. My skills will support the organisation’s long term objectives.
I also hope to build my own skills and expertise so that I can support other organisations and my executive career.