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The Equity Equation

What should modern corporate governance look like?

It is fundamental to the principles of ESG that governance can and should be used to leverage positive, sustainable change; and as focal points of civic society, through their governance action, professional membership bodies can work to realise significant cultural change.

Back in September 2021, Association Transformation hosts, Elisa and Andrew, were joined by first-time Board member, Leanne Antoine, who as a newly appointed member of the Council of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, shared her ambitions as a volunteer leader and her insights on the role of governance in establishing and maintaining equity, diversity, and inclusivity.

One of the things for me about governance that I find so interesting, is it's not so much about governance as it is about the people. If you're not taking care of the people, you will not get the results, you will not get the outcomes that you are striving for. So first and foremost, how are we taking care of our staff? How are we then taking care of the those that the service users? We must know who those people are, so that we can cater to their need, and I think, for me, that's where my passion for governance comes from.

My manifesto for being on the board of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy was actually about getting physio therapists of colour out into schools to talk about what we do. Not because I don't think that white physios can go out there and talk about what we do, but because I think the children need to see that there are physio therapists of colour, doing the job. If I don't know that it's out there for me, why will I try to achieve it? How do I know that it's accessible to me? This is about planting the seed, but it's also about developing the social component of the ESG (Environmental and Social Corporate Governance).”

As we approach the quarter mark on the 21st century, in lieu of many other types of community organizations we all have a responsibility in civic leadership roles. Within the whole concept of ESG, people are still tending to be focusing on net-zero, carbon-neutral, physical environment, and not the social elements of it.

What Leanne is setting out to achieve is the social focus and recognizing the impact that society can have. To have that impact we have to be at the forefront of guided change, recognizing that we can't do everything for everybody, everywhere all the time. What we can do is recognize where we fit within the structure, what impact and influence we can have within the system and recognize how we can work together with other elements of the system to meet that civic responsibility.

Diversity, equality and inclusivity is not some kind of tick box exercise. It has to be a cultural piece that the board in its entirety, acknowledges and embraces.

The heart of my manifesto is that I, or somebody like me, will not be having this conversation with you in 20 years’ time, because there will be no need. The reason why we have minority groups - LGBTQIA or the BAME network, is because their voices alone are not enough, so these people have to come together as a collective to be heard. I want to see a time when those things are not needed.

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