Dr Claire Bayntun is an RSM Trustee and has been Vice President of the Society since 2020. A clinical consultant in global public health, she will be stepping down as an RSM Trustee later this year. Here she shares her background to becoming a Trustee and has some timely advice for would-be Council members.
Nomination as a Trustee
I became a Section Council member of the RSM in 2007 and Section President in 2011. Both of these roles provided me with valuable insights into the evolving culture of the RSM leadership over time.
Networking and discussion sessions at the RSM with previous past Presidents, Mr B Sethia and Dame Professor Parveen Kumar, contributed to my thinking. Their ambition and work in shifting the culture at the RSM felt important. Aiming to take forward their valuable work within the representation of the RSM Council, these colleagues nominated me as a Trustee.
Contributing to the RSM’s work
It has been a privilege to contribute to this historic institution, doing so on a mandate to develop and strengthen the culture at the RSM, to reflect the health sector and system of 2022. I have proactively contributed to shifting our educational offer to support access to, and content relevant for, our global audience and also the establishment of equality, diversity and inclusion in all activities at the RSM. I’ve also been involved with new initiatives on core themes that are topical and important to health professionals across all disciplines and career levels - such as the COVID-19 webinar series, the Health Emergency of Climate Change series and our evolving work on health inequalities.
A values-based approach
As an executive coach, I work with health leaders to ensure that their decision-making reflects their own, as well as their organisations’ values. I apply this to my work at the RSM. A values-based approach ensures resilience and clarity of thought in managing the challenging decisions for the RSM at the current time, and for its future.
The most rewarding moments are when these values-based positions on decisions are truly heard and taken-up by others, influencing their motivations, allowing the RSM to move forward with a refreshed approach. An example would be our decision to focus on, and adequately resource, equality issues across all activities at the RSM and another is the free delivery to an open audience of the COVID-19 webinar series - maximising impact, dissemination and access at a time of crises, which I proposed as the RSM faced the prospect of lockdown in March 2020.
Advice for potential candidates
Perhaps consider what you can offer across these dimensions:
If you find a fit in yourself across those, you will have important value to offer the RSM.
What the RSM means to me
The RSM holds several ‘meanings’ to me.
Looking back to my role on the Section Council 15 years ago, my colleagues on that Council showed faith in voting me in to the position of President. I was the youngest President at that time. That experience has impacted my interests and career, motivating me to contribute at Board level (RSM Council) some years later, with a focus to support the positive shift in culture at the RSM.
From being a Trustee, I was subsequently elected by my Trustee colleagues to the position of Vice- President – an opportunity to make a contribution to the organisation’s strategic direction, which I value.
The core meaning of the RSM must be to offer a sanctuary to members that is outside their day-to-day work environment. To sustain this during this challenging period of the pandemic, the RSM aims to achieve this not only for professional education, but also for the personal-professional needs of individuals, meeting the contexts and challenges of our time.
On Monday 28 March nominations will close for positions on the Council of the Royal Society of Medicine, the governing body of the Society.