13 February 2013
It was at an AGM a few years back when, speaking about the erosion in the status of directors, I heard Paul Greengrass saying 'enough is enough'. That sort of shook me out of my own disgruntled complacency. I felt for the first time that he was giving voice to something we all felt instinctively - that things were bad, were getting worse, and that it was time to do something about it. In my own career I'd observed how, in a brief period of ten years, directors had gone from being a welcomed creative leader on projects, to someone who was to be hired as late as possible, dismissed as early as possible - and who was regarded as a kind of necessary inconvenience in the process of production.
I was fortunate to be voted onto the Board with a group of highly committed directors and when the brilliant Andrew Chowns took over the leadership of the organisation. I felt an immediate affinity with the other board members, even though we all work in quite different parts of the industry, and the chance to be able to discuss with like-minded people the issues that affect us came as something of a revelation.
Board meetings are a mixture of policy and strategy discussions, with inside information and the personal experience of the professionals around the table informing the discussions. Items range right across the different disciplines, from film to television. It can be a bit intimidating at first but I've felt that I'm always listened to and on occasion I've even managed to bring round others to my point of view. My driving vision has been of Directors UK as a prominent professional organisation which is seen as an important voice in all the debates, creative and professional, that touch on our working lives. By securing that prominence, we will have taken an important step on the journey to restoring our professional status, and pay, to where it belongs.
There's a lot of work to do, though I think the foundations for this are in place. We are winning respect, even friends, by our coherent, rational approach to the issues that come our way.
But I feel we need to go further. We need to extend and engage all our members, to become a vibrant, members-driven, digital organisation that is completely embedded in all the sectors that touch us. That's the way we can make a qualitative difference to the lives of directors.