07 Feb 2024
by Amey Higgon

Joining the ITI Board as a corporate representative

Amey Higgon sits on the ITI Board as the representative for Corporate members. Here she explains what is involved and what she gains from the role. 

There are many different ITI membership categories, from qualified translators and interpreters to students, project managers and translation agencies, to name just a few. To help ITI capture different views from across its membership and ensure a range of voices are heard, there is an allocated seat on the Board of Directors for a corporate representative.

Who can be the corporate representative?

The corporate representative is an individual who represents the company they work for, and that company must have been a member of ITI for at least two years. There’s no set job role you have to be in – previous representatives have included a Company Director, Head of Operations and Head of Project Management. What you do need is an understanding of the industry, an interest in helping to run the Institute, and of course, the support of your employer.

What does the role involve?

You might be thinking, “But I have no idea how a professional body like ITI is run, how will I be able to contribute anything?” Do not fear, you aren’t expected to know everything that goes into running the Institute before you can put yourself forward; every new Board member is given a thorough induction and has the support of the Chief Executive, office team and fellow Board members as they get to grips with the different aspects of the role, along with external experts in governance and finance that ITI works closely with. At Board meetings you will be expected to talk about your experiences working for a Corporate member and voice your opinion on various matters as they arise. You will also be asked to vote on decisions, approve financial accounts and chip in on strategic planning discussions.

What kind of commitment is expected?

Being a member of the Board does entail a commitment of your time, and this is why your employer’s support is crucial. Virtual and in-person Board meetings take place during work hours and travel is required three times a year to attend in-person meetings in Milton Keynes. While ITI does pay a fee for attending meetings – which can be paid directly to your employer to offset the cost of your absence from work – they do need to be willing for you to be away from your desk a few times a year. As the virtual Board meetings are only two hours long and in the early afternoon, I have found I can fit these into an extended lunch break, with minimal knock-on impact to my work, although of course when working at a busy translation agency there’s always the possibility I will need to rope in a colleague to help cover my projects while I’m unavailable.

Board members are occasionally asked to take on other tasks, such as writing blog posts (hello!), joining a committee, or meeting ITI office staff or Board members outside of the usual cycle to share experiences or opinions. This is completely at your discretion though – if you are not able to volunteer more of your employer’s time, or would have to get that signed off first, this is absolutely fine. ITI is always understanding of your existing work commitments.

Board members keep their seat for three years and can choose to run again, taking the maximum term to six years. It's worth mentioning that once you are elected, you are registered as a Director on Companies House, as the Board has a legal responsibility in running the Institute. This is something to factor in to your decision and you should see your role on the Board as a serious and long-term commitment – although one year in I can confirm that time really does fly by!

What can I get out if it?

If you have an opinion on how ITI is currently run or ideas for future improvements, becoming a member of the Board of Directors is the perfect way to get your voice heard (although you are always welcome to speak to the current representative too, either directly by email or via the Ask the Board page on the ITI website).

Other benefits include:

  • Getting to be the voice for ITI Corporate members – making sure that LSPs are taken into account when decisions are made.
  • Improving your understanding of how other members think and feel – it’s a great opportunity to see things from a translator or interpreter’s perspective, which might not always be available to you in your usual corporate environment. It can help both parties become more understanding of what happens on the other side of the computer screen and how you can work more effectively with each other;
  • Expanding your network – meet people you might not otherwise have the chance to interact with;
  • Getting your company’s name out there – boost your reputation within ITI and the industry and show that the LSP you work for takes pride in being part of the Institute;
  • Learning new business skills – strategy, finance, governance… the list goes on!
  • Travel opportunities/attending the ITI Conference – if you’ve never had the chance to attend the Conference before this could be a great opportunity to do that. A conference ticket is included in exchange for moderating some of the sessions, and your company only needs to cover travel and accommodation costs.

I hope this post has given you a bit more of an insight into life on the ITI Board. If you’re passionate about the industry, it’s the perfect chance to throw yourself into helping to shape the future of it and I would encourage you to give it ago (even if it sounds outside of your comfort zone!).