How did you first become involved with Engineers Without Borders UK?
While I was an undergraduate studying civil engineering – I started helping to coordinate our university branches – as they were then called and helped develop and run our international placements programme.
How has the organisation evolved over the years? What are your reflections on this?
The organisation has grown up, reflected and adapted. First, it professionalised (I was one of the last volunteer Chief Executives before we were able to hire an actual staff team) and now Engineers Without Borders UK has evolved with the world around it – especially the shift from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals. But the organisation has retained its ability to deliver a huge amount by inspiring student and professional engineers and working closely with universities and a range of other partners.
What inspired you to become a trustee?
Being a trustee is a fantastic opportunity to help guide and steward an organisation in a more hands-off role. I’ve spent much of my professional life working overseas, and being a trustee was also a way that I could personally re-connect and re-engage with the organisation. Although as we have all learnt in the last year, distance is less of a barrier than it used to be!
What are you proudest of as a trustee?
I think I’m proudest of helping provide an atmosphere where ideas can be shared, discussed and used to develop our strategy – an example over the last couple of years is our discussions of Kate Raworth’s concept of ‘doughnut economics’ and how it can be applied to globally responsible engineering. In a directly practical sense, I’ve also enjoyed playing a trustee role on some of the interview panels which have helped recruit some of our brilliant staff!
What do you hope to see Engineers Without Borders UK achieve by 2030?
Our new strategy and the ambitions set out in that! But I won’t spoil that ahead of its launch. More broadly, to have contributed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by working with others to transform the engineering community to deliver globally responsible engineering.
Stephen’s input over the years has been extremely valuable and we thank him for all he has done for the organisation. We are now looking for someone to join our board of trustees with senior-level experience of sustainable development and/or driving positive change within engineering who can use their expertise to support the achievement of our 2021-2030 strategy. Learn more about the role and find out how to apply here.