Rodolfo Barradas on Being a Board Trustee

Leeds civil servant Rodolfo Barradas, who works in environmental policy, first became a trustee at the age of 24 and was the Young Trustees Movement Ambassador for Yorkshire and The Humber 2021/2022. 

He now sits on two boards for arts organisations as a trustee and is currently Vice Chair of East Street Arts (on the board since Jan 2021) and Trustee of Freedom Studios, since Nov 2016. His interests lie in youth governance and leadership, and placemaking.

Having graduated from the University of Leeds, he spent six years in marketing and communication. Rodolfo has been a Leeds resident for twelve years.

Recently, Clore Leadership asked Rodolfo to attend their Governance Conference in Birmingham to look at the conference from a young trustee’s perspective.

Rodolfo: “Being a trustee was as much about supporting arts organisations, whose work I think makes a real difference, as it was about developing my own leadership skills and learning more about the arts sector. As a working-class immigrant, it’s also been an incredible opportunity to build my confidence, build a network, and learn how to navigate leadership spaces and think strategically – skills that I take back into my day job too. I think we don’t talk enough about what a great development opportunity it is.”

At the conference there were a few stand-out moments. It was clear that some people believed that to be a trustee, you have to be retired. This is not the case. Rodolfo wondered how often boards undertake reviews to consider welcoming younger people. There was also some discussion about the potential to pay people, given that lack of payment other than expenses seems to be a barrier.

East Street Arts is a leading charity working to secure better livelihoods for artists while addressing issues of economic and commercial decline in our towns and cities; in 2022 it opened the UK’s first Art Hostel, a 60-bed unique social enterprise in Leeds.

Freedom Studios is a theatre company that supports writers, actors and other creatives from Bradford and West Yorkshire to tell new stories in their own voice.