Tim Gerhard, Outgoing Honorary Treasurer
With over 40 years’ experience as a chartered accountant and eight years under his belt as a paramedic, Tim’s unique skillset made him the perfect choice for Honorary Treasurer and trustee of the College of Paramedics.
He first took up the position in October 2015 and over the last seven years has significantly helped the Board of Trustees on matters concerning finance, business and compliance.
Having previously worked with small and medium-sized businesses, and all the growing pains they endure, Tim says he felt well prepared for what lay ahead as Honorary Treasurer.
However, he did concede that there have been a few challenges along the way.
Tim said: “I think one of the more difficult aspects of my role has been to stop trustees from trying to produce a mini NHS with all its bureaucracy, and instead guide them towards an organisation that is balanced between being quick on its feet and having an appropriate level of checks and balances. In the main though, it’s been great to work with people who have similar goals for the College.”
So what advice would he give the next Honorary Treasurer?
“I would say ‘go for it’ but be aware that it’s not a passive job and has real exposure,” he says.
“You are legally responsible for the charity and its compliance with company and charity law which is quite a daunting prospect until you realise that there are processes in place to protect you and the College from unexpected problems.”
He added: “It is also a very good opportunity to apply knowledge and skills from any previous career. And for those starting out, it is also a chance to engage with strategic leadership and better understand the way in which businesses work. You will definitely gain a greater understanding of the trajectory of the profession within the NHS and be at the vanguard of development. You will realise that not all paramedics wear green and that there are colleagues who operate outside of ambulance services and some outside of the NHS whose roles are diverse and fascinating, all of which may guide your future career choices.”
Away from the College, Tim works as a Clinical Team Manager with London Ambulance Service and in his spare time can be found acting as lead safety Coxswain and Mark Layer for regattas in and around the Solent.
Will Broughton, Outgoing Trustee (Professional Standards)
There have been many highlights for Will since he became Trustee (Professional Standard)s in 2016. He’s enjoyed contributing to the development of the profession, as well as the National Conference, relished the opportunity to bring the Student Paramedic Conference into the College and delivering and co-ordinating CPD to hundreds of members around the UK.
On a personal level, he says being a trustee has also helped in his own career development as a paramedic and educator.
“Over the last six years, I’ve learnt a lot about myself and how our profession works,” he reveals.
“I’ve had so many opportunities to represent the profession and have taken from that many positive, and some negative, experiences about how to achieve change in a complex environment.
“I’ve also learnt that having an eye for detail can be a useful attribute in the trustee role because it’s important to scrutinise all the information we’re given.”
Will adds: “And one of the most valuable lessons I’ll take away with me is knowing how and when to speak up and raise any concerns you may have. Like many growing organisations, there have been challenges and obstacles along the way but working with people who want to see the profession develop and thrive has been a really rewarding experience.”
Prior to becoming the Trustee (Professional Standards), Will was the regional representative for London and then the national representative for professional practice. He says he made the decision to stand as a trustee because he didn’t see himself represented by those who were in post at the time and wanted to make sure that members’ views were being considered throughout the College.
He said: “I certainly had a desire to make positive changes and to champion things that others may not have had an interest in, as well as bring different perspectives to the Board and Council tables.”
As Will gets ready to leave his position as Trustee (Professional Standards), he had some wise words for anyone thinking of taking over the role.
“Stand, and give yourself the chance of being elected,” he says. “We need a range of people on our Board and Council who bring different experiences and expertise to the table. If you don’t see yourself, or your peers, represented then stand to become a part of the organisation or ask to join a working group to become involved. The more views and opinions that we have in our organisation the stronger it will become and the more we can achieve together.”
Read more about the Trustee Elections here.
Graham Clark, Outgoing Paramedic Council Member Representative for Eastern Region
During his six years as Paramedic Council Member Representative for Eastern region, Graham has seen College membership in the area grow from 365 full members to over 1,665 full members. Not only that but thanks to the regional conferences he organised and the regular university presentations he delivered, many more paramedics across the East of England now know about the College of Paramedics.
Graham’s council position also led him to regularly attend the National Ambulance LGBT Network and the National Ambulance BME Forum annual conferences, as well as numerous other conferences and exhibitions around the country.
Given all this, it’s perhaps not surprising that Graham, who is a Business Support Manager for EEAST, admits that time management was his biggest obstacle in the member representative role.
He explained: “Being a council member remains a voluntary role and requires dedication and occasionally, the use of annual leave in order to attend meetings and conferences.
“Since 2016, the role has evolved so the level of input has expanded and priorities have changed accordingly. But the consistent increase in membership is a monthly reminder that the effort is paying off and more and more paramedics, student paramedics and those who are affiliated to the profession are using the services that the College has to offer.”
Although Graham says there have been many highlights throughout his tenure, the one that sticks out for him is when he organised and delivered the first Eastern regional College of Paramedics’ conference.
“Seeing a variety of attendees arriving and ‘checking-in’ and observing the engagement and positive vibes throughout the day was really satisfying,” he says. “The College received some excellent feedback and those areas that needed improvement were addressed for the following year’s regional conference.”
Graham admits that you need to have commitment, time and focus to be a successful member representative and would urge anyone thinking of standing as a candidate to do their research.
“Make sure the role is right for you,” he says. “Have a look around the website, read the council member biographies. I often hear members claim they are not confident or educated enough to be on the Council, or they simply feel they will not ‘fit in’ to the existing Council but please do not let this deter you. Your experience and difference in perspective will be a valuable asset to the organisation and you can with grow it, like I have over the years. With diversity comes a stronger and more effective voice for our members.”
Graham will continue to be actively involved as Chair of the College of Paramedics’ Diversity Steering Group and is currently working as part of a small team delivering the annual national conference as well as working towards the organisation achieving ‘Royal College’ status.
Read more about the election for Member Representative – Eastern here.