Sukhpreet Bhatia ACG
Meet Sukhpreet Bhatia ACG as she tells us what its like to be a Governance Manager at Royal Town Planning Institute
Sukhpreet is an associate member of The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland and the Institute of Company Secretaries of India with over 12 years of experience working in company secretarial and corporate governance departments of membership organisations, not for profit, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals sector. She contributes to the growth of the organisation by minimising the risk exposure, updating and taking care of statutory requirements and any amendments thereto, performing compliance management and thereby achieving greater heights in the profession by gaining excellence in company secretarial and governance functions.
She works with the Royal Town Planning Institute as the Governance Manager. The role gives her the responsibility to deliver all matters relating to the RTPI’s governance and constitutional processes, and lead on the development of the governance function to deliver the most effective governance model in line with the very best practice in the ‘not for profit’ and ‘professional membership sector’.
Governance is not ring-fenced to a single department; the strength of the governance function is spread across the organisation.
Don’t hesitate suggesting/ incorporating changes where required whilst being pragmatic and not losing sight of organisational goals and objectives.
What is Governance?
For me, governance is the soul of any organisation. I observe governance as systems, norms, rules and regulations that are embedded within the organisation to ensure that the aims and objectives of an organisation are achieved.
Governance is not ring-fenced to a single department; the strength of the governance function is spread across the organisation. As different functions of the organisation contribute by performing their fragments, it adds up to good governance of the whole organisation.
What is a governance professional?
Governance professionals empower the board and committee to make informed and effective decisions, support the executive team and facilitate leadership function to retain their main focus towards accomplishing the organisation’s strategy and objectives.
Governance professionals perform core governance tasks such as:
- - Ensure the statutory and regulatory compliances are met
- - Deliver routine company secretarial/governance functions
- - Schedule and conduct board, committee and general meetings
In the last few years, the governance function has evolved to include, but not limited to:
- - Providing strategic guidance to bring the organisation’s governance structure on par with the good governance guides, industry best practices and global trends
- - Encourage and entrench emerging Environmental, Social and Governance principles/practices
- - Monitor governance engagements in line with relevant applicable laws such as Data Protection and GDPR
Monitor, develop and embed the initiatives around finding opportunities to automate specific governance functions, action plans around climate change & EDI…
The route to a career in governance
Company Secretaries/governance professionals work very closely with the board and c-suite along with establishing effective stakeholder engagement. I wanted to have a career where I could elevate my exposure to the c-suite and board. I found governance function short circuit that route and provide the opportunity to work with top leadership. Choosing this as a career has given me enormous learning and development opportunities. Building trust amongst the executive team, board, and various stakeholders by delivering quality governance functions feels great.
The essential skills for success in governance
Knowledge and understanding of the applicable statutory laws; keep abreast with applicable statutory updates/amendments; strong communication skills; attention to detail; foresightedness and stewardship.
Navigated the organisation to streamline its governance structures to be in line with the Good Governance Code, which involved huge consultations, commitment throughout the process, managing sensitive issues and expectations.
Made a strong case to the organisations to invest in making their governance functions strong by adopting new practices automating the secretarial functions, where possible.
How did the Institute support your career as a governance professional?
The Institute has been the guiding source throughout my journey as a governance professional. It is a powerhouse and a knowledge hub of numerous resources that helped me in creating various governance documents in my organisations. The Institute’s networking events, webinars, and other available L&D opportunities helped me confidently progress with my career.
Words of wisdom for the next generation of governance professionals?
Take an opportunity to make governance an empowerment function along with enforcement. Don’t hesitate to suggest/incorporate changes where required whilst being pragmatic and not losing sight of organisational goals and objectives. Support your advice with relevant examples.
The board and executive teams are willing to follow recommendations, provided it is easy to follow and pragmatic. Adopt simplicity in the governance structure/documents/framework of an organisation.
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