Lauren Osman CG (Affiliated)
Meet Lauren Osman, shortlisted nominee for our Company Secretary of the Year 2021 Awards, as she tells us what it's like to work as a Transformation & Compliance Manager at Avenues Group.
Lauren has an absolute passion and ambition to make governance better in the not for profit sector. She loves looking at problems and coming up with solutions and she truly believes that by modernising governance, she can help organisations thrive and deliver lasting transformational change.
I am so honoured to have been nominated and shortlisted for Company Secretary of the Year at the Chartered Governance Institute 2021 Awards. Just being nominated is a win for me and I would like to thank all the people who have helped me develop into my role for their support.
I would also like to thank everyone I work with at the Avenues Group. It is an amazing place to work, full of really great people supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society and I could not do what I love doing without all of them.
What is Governance?
Governance means doing the right thing – not the easy thing. It means providing an organisation with direction and ambition and helping them navigate success. I firmly believe that governance should be a value enabler, not a tick box compliance exercise that gets in the way!
What is a governance professional?
A governance professional is a person that champions and promotes doing the right thing. They are unbiased to any department or area of the organisation. They build good relationships so that they are a safe haven for those who need guidance and support in the governance and compliance arena. They should be that golden thread of communication that runs right from top to the bottom and across the organisation.
The route to a career in governance
I actually started as a part-time Personal Assistant! I started supporting the Finance Director, who was also the Company Secretary, and she saw potential in me and pushed me to pursue a career in governance, and I have never looked back.
The essential skills for success in governance
Being human! You have to be approachable and have the skills to build relationships and create a safe space for people to bring their views around governance and compliance – you can’t do it alone – you need to know what is happening throughout the organisation and make sure the governance is fit for purpose as a result.
Overseeing the governance review that I have been nominated for. Avenues is a group of charities that have grown through mergers and acquisitions, and as a result, the governance got clunky and just didn’t work. We had over 40 trustees and over 45 governance each year, which was inefficient. I worked with the whole board to make sure we were all in agreement with the reasons to change, provided them with a range of options and worked with them to come up with a solution that has been really successful. We did this just before the pandemic hit, and I am so thankful we did, as I am not sure we could have weathered that storm with the way we were operating. The changes made us much stronger as an organisation and in a better position to provide quality support to the most vulnerable people in society.
How did the Institute support your career as a governance professional?
I have looked to the Institute for guidance and support throughout my entire career. They are my ’go to’ for development and best practice guidance.
Words of wisdom for the next generation of governance professionals?
Great governance does not happen by chance – it takes a person or people to champion governance principles, which makes sure that everyone does the right thing – not the easy thing!
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