Meet our Trustees: Zair Berry
Why did you choose to volunteer for Blue Cross?
I have known Blue Cross since I was a child and I was brought up where dogs were a very important part of the family. When I trained to become a chartered accountant, Blue Cross was a client of my firm and while I never had any dealings with the charity I was very aware of their existence. Many years later upon my return to England from working abroad for 15 years I was looking to do some voluntary work and Blue Cross was looking for someone with financial and organisational skills. A perfect match.
What are your duties in your role as a Blue Cross Trustee?
The primary role of the Trustee is one of governance. Organisations that provide services to the public and provide employment opportunities have a responsibility to comply with laws and regulations and ensure the safety of the public and their people. Charities in particular need to ensure that their donors’ funds are properly used in accordance with their objectives. All this and more is a responsibility of Trustees. So I am one of those who is prepared to give time and experience voluntarily in pursuit of giving every pet a happy home while protecting our employees and ensuring the future of the charity.
What is your professional background?
I am a chartered accountant by profession with experience in finance, education and training, IT and governance. I used to work for a large professional service organisation and was responsible for the delivery of training in our European centres to 60,000 employees. I was at one time also responsible for coordinating the deployment of common IT systems throughout offices in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. Now I have a number of different roles at Board level in property companies, charities – primarily Blue Cross and Irish Blue Cross – and I do some work in politics.
How long have you been a Trustee for Blue Cross?
I became a Trustee of Blue Cross in 2003 and during that time I have chaired the Finance and Support Committee for two short periods and served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2015.
What do you enjoy most about being a Blue Cross Trustee?
There is always something new to learn. I never imagined coming from a finance background that I would gain any knowledge in animal behaviour, veterinary matters, managing the media or lobbying politicians on animal matters. I have met colleagues with such diverse backgrounds as university vice chancellor, president of the RCVS, a Christian bishop; all of which I have helped recruit onto the Board of Blue Cross.
Do you have any of your own pets?
Sadly not. My former lifestyle travelling extensively round Europe, the US and Asia would have meant asking others to look after my pooch, so it wouldn't be fair on my friends or the pooch. One day when I settle permanently I hope to adopt from Blue Cross.