A Place on the Board: Anna Laszlo of World Vision UK

With her Christian faith and background in international development, Laszlo went to a charity she really cared about

Anna Laszlo
Anna Laszlo

It is seven years since Anna Laszlo, then a civil servant in the Department for International Development, joined World Vision UK as a trustee.

"Someone I worked with in Mozambique – she was working for World Vision and I was working for DfID – knew the charity was looking for a trustee who had a Christian faith and had a background in development," she says. "She asked if I would be interested."

Laszlo left DfID about a year after joining World Vision and forged a career as a facilitator and coach. Now in her third and last three-year term as a trustee, she has clearly followed the advice she gives to those considering a similar role: "Go for a charity you really care about and, once you become a trustee, go and see what's actually happening in the field."

It was partly seeing World Vision's work in Jordan, helping people who had fled from Syria, that motivated her to accept the role of chair this year, and partly the chance to help develop a new five-year strategy for the charity.

Her workload is now about four or five hours a week, which she describes as a "considerable step-up" from her time commitment as a trustee. Compared with those early days, she says, the role is now more focused on helping and challenging the charity to produce evidence of the impact it makes in return for money from government and the public. Recent years have involved asking challenging questions of management, while still providing support, when forecast income targets have not been met during the more difficult financial climate.

Laszlo is on adoption leave, having recently adopted two children from the UK, and values her time with the charity: "To be still involved in development issues means a lot to me. It's a huge privilege and has added a lot to my life."

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