The Ripple Effects of Encouraging More Diverse Members to Join Boards and Committee Groups

Written by Rifhat Qureshi

Rifhat is speaking into a microphone at the IEEC 2019 conference

In September 2019, I attended my first International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference (IEEC) at Oxford Brookes. For three days, I was able to listen to keynote speeches, Pecha Kucha presentations and inspirational experts on my favourite topic: entrepreneurship. I was hugely inspired by the event as I learnt of the original approaches and new research in the area of entrepreneurship. Connecting with like-minded people who were equally as passionate about entrepreneurship as me and sharing good food was an absolute pleasure.

During the pandemic, the conference moved online but in 2022, the IEEC was held in person at Swansea University. Again, I walked away with some extremely inspiring and noteworthy developments in Entrepreneurship Education. However, when I reflected on the conferences in the wake of what had taken place between the two years of the pandemic, I felt a sense of disappointment. I began to realise that despite entrepreneurship being a universal topic, there was very limited representation of ethnic minorities at these conferences. I began wondering what could be done to change this when an email arrived in my inbox from EEUK Director Steve Aicheler (Cardiff Met) asking if I would like to join EEUK’s Nominations and Representation Committee. Being someone who believes that change only happens through collaboration and action, I jumped at the opportunity to join.

In our first meeting, I felt unsure if there was anything I could add to the committee as all the members had great ideas on how to drive the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda forward but by the second meeting, I could see there was work that still needed to be done. In the run up to our second meeting, an email had gone to members requesting nominations for board members and I wanted to find out if any of the applications had come from ethnic minority members. As NARC Chair and EEUK Vice President Megan Powell Vreeswijk commented, ‘The data was not there and as a committee, we realised it needed to exist for us to drive change. So, this is the first year that EEUK are actively collecting our additional EDI data to help ensure we are all represented, and that the organisation can become one that truly reflects its members’.

Having Steve encourage me to join the NARC committee gave me confidence and assurance to join other committees and boards. As I look forward to attending my third in-person IEEC at the University of Surrey, and my continued work with the Nominations and Representation Committee, I feel hopeful.  The ripple effect of positively encouraging more diverse members to join management boards and senior level groups will in time result in EEUK becoming as diverse in nature as entrepreneurship is.

The Nominations and Representation Committee is a sub-committee of the EEUK Board of Directors to which it reports and is accountable. Volunteering to monitor equality, diversity and inclusion across the organisation and its activities, ensuring the organisation is representative of its membership and recommending appropriate controls to the Board and ensuring that the Committee’s activities support the strategic and operational objectives of EEUK. The Committee is currently recruiting for new members – please visit for more information.

Applications to become an EEUK board director are now welcomed from staff at EEUK member organisations. Deadline 16th June 2023. If you would like to put yourself forward, please complete the online nomination form. Terms of Reference for Ordinary Directors can also be found on this page. Or alternatively, please click here to download a word version for completion. Please return to, together with a letter of support from your line manager.

If you wish to propose someone from another member organisation, please contact that person and arrange for the form to be completed.

Please check whether there is already a board member at your organisation by clicking here but bear in mind that their terms may be ending this year.

The deadline for completed nomination forms is 11.59pm on 16 June 2023.

Please note that our constitution states that there should be no more than one board member from any one member organisation on the board at any one time. If there are two candidates from the same university, the one with the highest count goes forward.