Linda Owen

Children and disability specialist and portfolio non-executive

Linda began her career in secondary education but moved to seek more family friendly roles following her two youngest children’s diagnosis with a genetic condition. She is now an information specialist in the voluntary sector focused on disabled children and their families.

Linda joined the Women on Boards bursary programme as she wanted to progress her experience on public sector appeal panels to broader non-executive roles as she feels she has the skills to make a real difference through this route.

She is actively seeking a full non-executive director role in the public sector and has been appointed to four positions since starting the Bursary: Independent Chairperson (United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists); Independent Person responsible for overview and scrutiny for complaints against Councillors (Harrogate Borough Council); Ordinary Member with Disability Experience, of the Social Security Chamber in the First-tier Tribunal for the Scottish Government; and Specialist Member to Care Standards jurisdiction Ministry of Justice.

Here she shares her experience of the Women on Boards Bursary:

“The Women on Boards bursary has been life-changing for me. More than anything it demonstrated and validated how a portfolio career could work as an option for me, as a voluntary sector professional. And I am now well on my way to creating one.

The Bursary’s approach is supportive but not pressured. You can go at your own pace, and it is very achievable in a year to use all the resources included. This has been particularly valuable with all the unexpected challenges of 2020!

The quality of the support from Women on Boards is amazing. I found it offered a highly professional level of expertise, but combined with a really personal touch. It helped me to identify my transferable skills from all the different roles and experiences I have in my career and offered really practical advice on how to implement them in my applications.

“Being part of a small cohort with the other bursary participants has been valuable too. Although we are all quite different in many ways, I’ve really appreciated the mutual encouragement and keeping track of each other’s progress.”

Most importantly, the bursary support gave me the confidence to start applying for roles. As well as my policy development work on children and disability, I wanted to be more directly involved with the issues families face so targeted adjudicatory roles working on complex cases.

I have been successfully appointed to three new non-executive positions on public sector panels in just over six months. In addition, I have been appointed as the an Independent Chairperson for the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists, which is a fascinating role.

I am still targeting a full NED role in the public sector, as it would allow me to use my skills in a broader strategic setting. I have some live applications pending, so fingers crossed!”

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