It has been 20 years since businesswoman, Anna Corbett, offered to help out on the cake stall at her daughter’s school fete. Little did she realise, but that first foray with the PTA would lead to a lifelong involvement in education.
Two decades later and, by day, mum of two Anna is a partner in Tor Mark, Cornwall’s largest publishing and book distribution company. Out of hours, she holds down a weighty portfolio of non-executive positions that includes chair of trustees for Truro High School, trustee for Aspire Multi Academy Trust, member of the Diocesan Board of Education and chair of trustees for Duchy Ballet.
She explains: “I suppose it’s really about contributing something to the community I live in and am part of. Giving children and young people the skills they need to become informed, articulate and educated adults is really the best way to allow them to be the people they wish to be. For me, education changes lives every single day and I suppose it’s the potential behind that individuality that inspires me.
“Cornwall is incredibly special to so many people but there is a real undercurrent of deprivation; for me, the rise in fuel and food poverty along with social changes more broadly, are proving incredibly challenging for many, many people. I see education as a real key to changing this.”
The role of a trustee can involve anything from a few days a year to a few hours a week, depending on the level of commitment you are willing and able to make. For those who make the pledge, the benefits are plentiful, both personally and professionally.
Anna says: “Getting involved in something outside of work that is much, much bigger than myself gives me a tremendous sense of achievement and well-being. Knowing that in some very small way I am helping a school to develop itself is hugely important to me.
“Being willing to do something for others, for no remuneration, gives a real indication of who you are as a person. I think this in itself sends a very strong message to others about your business and its ethos. I suppose it’s rather like going the extra mile for a customer, not because you have to but because you want to.”