Graduate Contribution – Learning Journeys by Matthew Tye

“And if we want to achieve our goals, then let us empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and togetherness”. A powerful message from an inspiring 16 year-old Malala Yousafzai who delivered a speech at the UN in New York earlier this month. If you have not yet had the chance to listen to it, I would encourage you to do so. Because we now have a remarkable young world leader living and studying in Birmingham from whom we all can take inspiration on our own journeys.

Last September I found myself embarking upon a new passage, a BLF journey through the Get on Board Programme. And it is very much a journey that’s a continuous path rather than a springboard or stepping stone. The programme opened the world and knowledge of corporate governance, equipping us with the detail and skills to become effective board members. Not wanting to waste any time and to get ‘get on board’ straight away, I put in a trustee application to the International Glaucoma Association of which I am a member. This is a patient-based organisation which works to raise awareness of glaucoma, promote research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and provide support to patients and those who care for them. Glaucoma is one of the most common eye disorders. Thousands of those affected in Birmingham and across the country have been helped by the charity since its establishment in 1974. At the time of the AGM there were six vacancies on the board to be filled from seven applicants. Although I was not one of those elected, the Council had earlier ratified to co-opt the person who was not elected onto the Board because of the skills and experience shown by all of the candidates. My three year term of office began in March and I have already attended a board meeting and spent a day in the offices engaging with staff and exploring some small but effective ways we can drive the organisation forward. One of my priorities as a trustee is to see patients manage and record their lifelong glaucoma journeys better especially through the use of digital media. Over recent months a ‘Glaucoma Passport’ emerged to support patients on their journeys. I now want to see this taken to the next level as a more accessible tool in the form of an app.

Good governance is knowing where to hover – not too high and not too low. I’m excited that my BLF journey is already ‘on the map’ and can’t wait to see what’s in store over the coming months and years.


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