Members board: Joining the dots
Michael Kay CA is rethinking the work of the Members Board for the benefit of ICAS and its members alike.
The ICAS Members Board is responsible for providing strategic direction, guidance, oversight and challenge to the member engagement work undertaken by the institute. Membership is appointed by Council, which is responsible for the overall governance of ICAS and ensuring the objects of the Royal Charter are met.
Michael Kay CA joined Council in April 2020 and was appointed Chair of the Members Board five months later, for an initial term of three years. This followed four years as a committee member of the London Area Network. For Kay, getting involved was an opportunity to give back. “I’m at a stage in my career where I have more time and can get involved,” he says. “Being part of the London Area Network, in particular, gave me a better understanding of what ICAS is doing. There are some great initiatives going on at ICAS – at Members Board we challenge it to make things even better.”
Kay points to the member and student value propositions as evidence of the refreshed commitment. The twin propositions, which were launched in 2019 and 2020 respectively, set out the ICAS strategy for improving communication with members and enhancing the status of the profession. A central pillar is that ICAS is a customer-centric organisation.
In addition, the Members Board agreed eight priority areas of focus in 2020: area networks; subscription model; customer experience; professional development; prospective students; student experience; insights; and value proposition. One of Kay’s actions has been to assign two Members Board “champions”, establishing a staff/member partnership to drive forward these key work programmes.
“The champions are assigned to a focus area to work alongside the senior ICAS staff leading these initiatives,” explains Kay. “Take area networks as an example: Clive Bellingham CA and Katherine Ritchie CA have helped ICAS develop the future strategy which is now summarised in a simple one-pager that lists deliverables quarter by quarter, linking back to both the ICAS business plan and the work of the ED&I Committee. They have both played a critical role in challenging and developing this strategic vision.”
It’s an approach that Kay links back to his career in the private sector, where he worked in senior roles at Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and HSBC before stepping down from full-time work in 2018. He has since acted as Chief Commercial Officer at NHS Digital and is now in an advisory role at the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance.
“I really enjoy our Members Board meetings,” he adds. “We limit presentations to around five minutes, so meetings can be opened up to discussion and healthy debate. Different viewpoints are encouraged and we are not afraid to challenge ICAS where we think alternative approaches may be more beneficial across all areas of membership. It’s helping our work with ICAS to evolve – and we’re hoping to pass our learnings through the area networks to the wider membership.”
Having experience as a former area network committee member himself, Kay sees the network structure as essential to encouraging member engagement across the globe, as well as sharing best practice between the volunteers.
“We recently clarified the area networks’ remit,” he explains. “We’re putting in place some critical core roles in each network; for example, nominated leads for social media, students and the under-35s. It’s about leveraging the great things members are already doing in their own networks and sharing them more widely.”
Looking ahead, Kay aims to embed key CA values in the workings of the Members Board and area networks. “We want to share strategic deliverables for each of the different workstreams and get to the point that we’re sharing KPIs and demonstrating how we’re delivering for members,” says Kay. “It’s about building transparency and accountability which, in turn, encourages people to get involved. If members see things of particular interest, or have different views on certain issues, I hope they would reach out to the Members Board.”
And it’s that all-important participation that Kay is looking to foster. To improve both the workings of the Members Board and ICAS itself, Kay encourages members to get involved and help to shape the direction of their institute. “I’m interested in hearing from people who perhaps don’t feel as engaged with ICAS. Come and tell me your thoughts,” says Kay. “One example of hearing feedback and changing things for the better is the recent survey of ethnically diverse people, which we discussed in March. There was some honest feedback and uncomfortable conversations. But ICAS – particularly the ED&I Committee – is listening to feedback, and taking action to implement the changes.
“There are opportunities for all members to get involved, through helping deliver our eight priorities, mentoring, supporting the ICAS Foundation or even joining us on Members Board. I hope all members will engage with your CA community and help to shape the future of ICAS by letting us know how we’re doing.”
Joining the Members Board
To ensure the composition of the Members Board continues to reflect membership demographics, ICAS is currently looking for additional members to join. We’re looking for members from across a range of backgrounds and experiences to ensure diversity of thought and skills.
The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 31 May 2021. For more information on the role and the application process please contact Sarah Cran, Director of Member Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.