Kerrine graduated in 2005 and moved to London to start work as an electrical engineer for CB&I UK Limited. She attended an IET event at IET London: Savoy Place, where she met the IET London Network’s Younger Members Committee. She attended a number of subsequent meetings and in 2007 was invited to join the Committee, with responsibility for organising key skills workshops and other events for local young professionals.
“My role on the Committee enabled me to hone my skills in organising, event coordination and planning,” she said. “The most enjoyable part was meeting other young engineers, which helped me to settle in to living in London more easily. I also learned a lot about the importance of this sort of group within the IET.”
Learning about committees
In 2011 Kerrine started mentoring young professionals. She said: “Mentoring was recommended to me by the IET as a way to improve my own skills and I saw it as the logical next step on my volunteer journey, especially as it meant that I would receive training. I learned a lot about what a mentor is and the importance of active listening.
“I’ve now been mentoring for around nine years. Most of my mentees have met their goals, including gaining chartership, getting an MBA or navigating life as an expatriate with children – all of which I could relate to!”
In 2016 Kerrine moved to the US and again found herself looking for a way to meet new people. She said: “I heard about the IET New England Local Network, got in touch and asked to get involved. After a few meetings, I was invited to join the committee and was then elected as Secretary, which included organising meetings and events, general administration and taking minutes.
“The role enabled me to find out the nuts and bolts of how a committee operates and how decisions are made. I also learned to use new software, like Adestra. And I took my organisational skills to another level – believe me, those skills are proving more important than ever, now that I’m a working mother with two young children.”
Moving into governance
In October 2020 Kerrine was elected to Council and started a three-year term as an Ordinary Member. She said: “I was told many years ago by my mentor that rather than just talking about how things could be better, I should take steps to get involved and help make changes happen, which is what I’ve done in my various IET roles to date. Being elected to Council by my fellow IET members is a great achievement and a tremendous honour.
“Council is responsible for monitoring the IET’s governance; reviewing and contributing to the IET’s Strategic and Corporate Plans, and reviewing the Annual Report and Accounts. I hope to bring a different voice to the table, helping to continuously improve the great work that the IET does.”
Kerrine believes it’s important for Council to include members who are not based in the UK: “In order to expand globally, the IET needs to be aware of the needs of other markets,” she said. “International members understand what’s happening in the IET’s different regions and can also provide connections for potential international partnerships or collaborative opportunities.”
She is also one of nine Ordinary Members of Council appointed to the Knowledge Services and Solutions Board (KSSB), one of the three Main Boards that manage our activities. “We’re responsible to the Board of Trustees for planning and implementing the IET’s KSS strategy, which covers things like scientific and academic publishing, conferences and events,” said Kerrine.
“I’m responsible for reviewing and contributing to documents and discussions relating to KSS, in alignment with the IET’s objectives and purpose. I also provide strategic advice to the Board of Trustees.”
In her two governance roles, Kerrine will be expected to attend three full-day meetings during the year and to be active in virtual meetings and discussions too.
Although it’s still early days, Kerrine is certain that strategic thinking will be the key to success in her two new roles, as well as the ability to look at how best to implement solutions that address multiple needs. She expects the biggest challenges to be prioritising and reaching an agreement with Council Members about which suggestions or strategies are critical.
“Engineering and technology is a very broad field and everyone will be influenced by their own experiences: what might seem pressing for one person might not be for someone else,” she said. “The first meeting went very well. It was really interesting. Covid was one of the main topics, so many of the items and strategies we talked about were actually new to everyone.
“We covered the President’s themes and had some great discussions. I particularly appreciated the renewed focus on young people. That’s something close to my heart because one of the things I enjoy most about volunteering for the IET is inspiring the next generation through school visits.
“The President’s address highlighted the importance of ‘difference makers’. I hope that in talking to schoolchildren I’m being a difference-maker, helping them to see that engineering is diverse, can provide many opportunities and is for everyone.”
Kerrine’s volunteer journey to Governance has been rich, challenging and varied. When asked for her top tip, she said: “To get the most satisfaction out of an IET volunteering role, don’t do it to tick a box. Do it because you have a passion for it.”
If you’d like to explore how you can engage with IET volunteering, please contact email@example.com