In March 2021, James took over as Traverse’s Chair of the Board of Trustees. He replaced Anna McKeon, who had been in the role for three years.
"I am delighted that Traverse’s members have entrusted me with the position of Chair. In 2018, when I joined the permanent staff (having previously been part of the Response Unit) I had seen glimpses of employee ownership in action and wanted more. I was impressed then by the way that staff from all across the company came together to discuss issues as equals, and I am pleased now to be able to facilitate those discussions and represent those members’ interests.
I find myself taking over as Chair at an incredibly exciting moment for Traverse and our members. In April we appointed Nick Johnson as our new CEO – you can read more about Nick’s arrival at Traverse here. We are all looking forward to getting to know him, and to the new ideas and new energy which I am sure he will bring to our company.
More broadly, the country appears to be emerging from what has been an immensely challenging year and we at Traverse have not been immune to those challenges. However, necessity is the mother of invention and, whilst it is not always easy joining a company whilst working remotely, there are also opportunities. The way we are communicating is changing, and we now find ourselves with new, talented colleagues from across the four nations of the United Kingdom (and even across the world).
This new way of working brings its own questions – do the old meeting formats still work? How do we ensure everyone is heard equally? Can we have a vibrant and energetic discussion of company matters when we are all sat at kitchen tables or in improvised office spaces across the length and breadth of the UK and beyond? But as employee owners these are questions which we relish as opportunities rather than as challenges. I am very much looking forward to working with the rest of the Trustees and with members to find answers to these questions and more over the coming months.
Finally, as I take over the reins from Anna, I’d like to thank her not just for her three years in the role (during which she was superlative and saw Traverse through three transformative years) but also personally for her help and guidance during the last couple of months. She leaves very big shoes to fill, but I will give it my best shot!