For this year’s Trustees’ week, we spoke with the four Trustees who joined the NYJO board at the beginning of this year, to give you some insight into what inspires them, and why their role is so important.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all our Trustees for the brilliant work they do! Trustees make an enormous difference to how a charity is run, they help shape an organisation’s vision and ensure that all we do is in line with our mission and values. They are unpaid and – most of the times – unseen and unsung; this Trustees’ week, we want to change that.
Get to know Projjol, Paul, Alan, and Tricia and hear all about their experience as NYJO Trustees, in their own words.
Meet the Trustees
Projjol is the founder and Chief Product Officer of Zeotap, a technology company that empowers brands to put privacy and security at the centre of their customer data management. He’s also a co-founder and board member of women’s wellness brand Nua.
After hopping around for many years, studying and working in India, where he grew up, and then the US, UK, and Germany, Projjol dropped anchor in the UK a few years ago – initially in Oxford and more recently in Bristol, where he lives with his wife Mihika and dachshund Ruby (not necessarily in that order).
A violinist manqué, Projjol has long realised his most valuable contributions are backstage or – increasingly – behind a desk.
Paul Boniface joined the NYJO Board in January 2022. Paul has been a jazz fan all his listening life as well as a musician. He places the emphasis on his enthusiasm rather than his skill! He still gigs regularly today.
Paul started his career as a management trainee in the NHS later becoming an HR director of a large NHS Trust. Leaving the public sector in the late 90s, Paul became an HR director in the pharmaceutical sector. Paul then joined the Management Board of the National Trust as Director of HR & Legal, later becoming the Secretary. He worked for the National Trust for over 20 years. Paul says, ‘I was very lucky to work for such a wonderful organisation for so long. The experience was totally absorbing although there was still time for regular jazz gig going in the UK and beyond’.
Alan has worked for Live Nation Entertainment, the World’s largest live entertainment company, for the last 20 years and is currently Chairman of their Asia Pacific Division.
Alan qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and then spent 6 years at Hertz Rent-A-Car in various finance roles before joining Live Nation in 2002. After serving as the company’s Chief Financial Officer in Los Angeles for 2 years, he relocated back to London to become the CEO of Live Nation’s international business and for the last 10 years he has been leading the growth of their Asia Pacific business, basing himself in Dubai and Hong Kong before moving back to the UK in 2016.
Alan joined the Board of Trustees of NYJO in December 2021 as the Finance Trustee and Treasurer.
Alan lives in Surrey and is married with two children.
Over the last 30 years Tricia has built programmes with and for young people in a newly democratic South Africa; for seven years she oversaw the Elton John Aids Foundation strategy in the region. In 2009 she established a new museum in Johannesburg and created a jazz stage on evenings and weekends for established and emerging musicians. She led the creation of the first small business incubator for young people starting environmentally sustainable businesses in the country, and project managed design and construction of a new arts and community centre.
Currently Tricia is head of partnerships at Action for Southern Africa, supporting partners across the region addressing the legacies of apartheid and colonialism. She’s a committed non-profit activist, currently a trustee of the Jonas Gwangwa Foundation (South Africa), a patron of the ASHA Centre UK, and of Global Girl Media which provides media training to young women from minoritized communities in the UK (and also South Africa, Greece and the US).
In their own words
What first interested you in in becoming a NYJO Trustee?
I was looking to get involved with an inspirational organisation with purpose. NYJO fit the mould perfectly, especially since it also resonated with my own keen interest in music. I felt that, as a trustee, I’d be able to contribute meaningfully to NYJO’s development.
My first jazz experience was in 1973 when the renown pianist Stan Tracey came to play at my school. I have never looked back and jumped at the chance of giving something back to an art form that has given me so much pleasure and is so important to the country’s cultural life.
I was looking for a trustee role that would benefit from my financial and operational experience. I ideally wanted to get involved with a charity in the music or education space and when I saw that NYJO was recruiting for a Finance Trustee it seemed like the perfect fit.
I’ve always been passionate about jazz and to play a small part in supporting a national institution which creates and enables diverse pathways for young jazz musicians to enter the profession was an exciting possibility.
What other organisations do you work with?
In addition to my active roles, I also help advise a few founders of early-stage start-ups in their entrepreneurial journeys.
I am Chair the Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking in Gloucestershire, a charity based in 40 acres of glorious countryside providing educational opportunities in the arts, environment, well-being and leadership.
This is my first trustee role, but it has inspired me to take on additional roles once I have the time available.
Action for Southern Africa is a small campaigning charity working to support civil society in the region combat the legacies of apartheid and colonialism. Global Girl Media trains young women to be media professionals; the Jonas Gwangwa Foundation preserves the work and legacy of the only African Emmy award winning composer and musician.
Why is the role of a Trustee important?
As someone who’s been a beneficiary of valuable counsel from board members in my own career, I’m convinced they can be crucial to an organisation’s evolution – from recruiting the best leadership to guiding strategic decisions. The role of a charity trustee, especially given its voluntary nature, comes with an added sense of commitment and responsibility.
Charities are an essential part of the fabric of our society. They include a diverse and broad range of organisations that contribute to our lives in a multitude of ways, some hidden, others less so. They benefit from the experience and expertise of their trustees who can support and challenge staff to deliver on each charity’s purpose and plans.
Just like any corporate entity that requires independent oversight from its Board of Directors, a charity requires oversight and, perhaps more importantly, guidance from its Trustees.
Every charity needs a diverse governance body who work solely as professional volunteers in the interests of the beneficiaries and the philanthropic supporters involved. They provide continuity to the charity and support to the executive team at strategic levels.
What advice would you give someone who was considering becoming a Trustee?
I’d recommend looking for an organisation focussed on an issue or cause one is passionate about. I’d also encourage them to ensure they can dedicate the necessary time. From personal experience, it can be extremely rewarding.
Do it. Being a trustee is satisfying and educational in equal measure. It’s a win/win – the charity benefits from trustees’ knowledge and expertise and trustees have the opportunity to contribute to important, often critical work.
Don’t underestimate the time commitment, but I would encourage anyone who has the time to consider becoming a Trustee. I have found the last 12 months with NYJO incredibly rewarding.
Consider if you have enough time to do the job well. Be prepared to contribute as you would in a paid-capacity and bring your expertise and experience to offer. Look into training available for instance from the Charity Commission. And be prepared to give money to your charity, so you can also ask others to give where appropriate.
What has the highlight of your time with NYJO been so far?
The jawdropping talent.
Meeting NYJO’s wonderful and dedicated staff and trustees, and discovering the enormous musical talent engaged with the charity.
Seeing the NJYO band play at Ronnie Scott’s in January was certainly a highlight, but I’d say the biggest highlight was attending the show case of NYJO’s educational work at Woolwich Works earlier this year. It was incredible to see the young talent performing in front of their family and friends.
This has to be about the musicians and being in the room when they collaborate to make that magic which happens when trained artists do what they love – so any of the NYJO performances!
Thank you to Projjol, Paul, Alan, and Tricia for taking the time to talk to us. We hope you enjoyed getting to know them!