As I step away from the board of DSC I wanted to just reflect on over a decade of involvement in the organisation. Such huge changes have happened in that time but throughout DSC has been a beacon of hope, support and service to the wider sector.
When I joined the board I was in awe at the calibre of people the organisation attracted, both in terms of staff and trustees. Reflecting on my own reasons for wanting to get involved it really shouldn’t have been surprising that everything DSC stands for could hook such experienced and skilful people. You see for me DSC has always been the bravest of infrastructure bodies (and I say that as the leader of one!) – outspoken, determined to carry on even if others give up (such as pursuing the repayment of the lottery monies taken during the run-up to the 2012 Olympics), creative and rigorous. Always willing to look at something from a different angle, always unwilling to compromise quality, especially in the many and various research projects that have become a hallmark of DSC’s activities.
Even an operational situation, like the need to move offices, demonstrated to me the agility, flexibility and fresh thinking of the team. When I joined, DSC occupied a large space at Stephenson Way. Developments in the location made remaining in the building, which had been synonymous for many with the courses of DSC, impossible. For many organisations, such a radicle change in the cornerstone of its identity would have been crushing. Not for DSC. Holloway Road became a new and exciting home and the opportunity to refresh and refocus on different parts of the offering was taken. And, when the pandemic hit forcing us all to work remotely, the agility, flexibility and open-minded team embraced this as an opportunity for new ways of working – leading the way and sharing their experience of making remote working successful.
Whether it’s championing diversity, flexible working or expressing an opinion on the pros and cons of hybrid meetings, DSC has a unique perspective that it shares honestly and transparently. This sense of sharing learning and creating a virtuous circle for others to share their experiences, so that even greater improvements can be surfaced, has set DSC out from many of its peers. During the COVID crisis, DSC was central to the collaborative work of the sector and played a key role in supporting both administrative tasks and leading debate (never needing to grab the spotlight or shying away from the need to roll up sleeves and do some heavy lifting).
My years have witnessed the relaunch of the impressive Funds Online, the provision of accessible, easily digestible and helpful free content (especially during the pandemic) and the delivery of significant research projects such as the ground-breaking work with the Forces in Mind Trust. Always honest. Always high quality. Always thought-provoking.
As an individual, my time with DSC has been personally rewarding and has helped me grow. I have learnt from my fellow trustees, the staff and the outputs of this fantastic organisation. I remain an avid supporter and follower of all things DSC and wish the team the greatest of luck as they lean into the challenges the world continues to throw at us. I know that it is more than equal to the task.
Thank you, DSC!