Governance, Trustees

A Trustee’s 2020 in three simple words - align, stretch, pivot

2020 has brought new and unexpected insights into the Trustee role Paula Hamilton holds at Abortion Support Network.

Growing up on the island of Ireland, reproductive justice has always been a massive personal motivator. So when I was invited to join Abortion Support Network’s (ASN) Board as Treasurer in 2018, I was not only thrilled but it brought terrific alignment with my own core values, particularly solidarity and compassion.

The unexpected offshoot that sprang from this Trustee role was the growing realisation that alignment wasn’t showing up so abundantly elsewhere in my career. In the first months of 2020, I took the bold step to act and to begin to explore opportunities for greater alignment between career and values.

My first Trustee 2020 insight – align

This year uncertainty is the only thing that is certain. And what lies ahead is unclear. The best of strategic plans have unravelled. Tightening belts, evaluating costs, and taking necessary actions have been the focus for financial oversight. Having embraced the digital way well before the pandemic, ASN’s strategy pivoted towards greater nimbleness and adaptability, leveraging assets and resources to align with clients’ needs and sustaining stronger relationships with donors, volunteers, and partners.

My second Trustee 2020 insight – stretch

As we entered the Spring lockdown, the second Trustee insight begin to emerge. This was going to be a year of personal stretch. Like many charities, the Covid-19 pandemic has presented ASN with more challenges and greater risk. Fortunately, ASN’s Board brims with creativity and fundraising expertise.

Hitherto, my chosen input into the fundraising strategy had been to enquire with a beginner’s mind and firmly keep on my Treasurer hat. I reflected that, in fact, I had chosen to take a less proactive role around the fundraising strategy to avoid stretching myself. Once again, my Trustee role steered me to act, this time on a personal developmental gap. Stretching myself to enhance my fundraising knowledge and skills has led me to further increase my own visibility as an ASN Trustee within different networks.

My third Trustee 2020 insight – embrace the pivot

In 2020, I have valued how the symbiotic relationship between charity and its Trustees can propagate profound shifts. Serving as an ASN Trustee opened up a deep personal re-examination around my life’s vocation. And in 2020, three simple words – align, stretch, pivot – led me to found an organisation. Authentic Voices – a nurturing community and education hub – helps women activists and staff to prepare for and to grow in elected and appointed representative roles within their unions and supports transformation initiatives to achieve greater gender balance in decision making in the labour movement.


Abortion Support Network (ASN) is a charity that provides information, financial assistance and, where needed and when possible, accommodation in volunteer homes to those forced to travel for abortion care from Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Malta, Gibraltar and Poland. You can connect with Paula on LinkedIn here,  or email her directly here.