This national Trustees’ Week, we’re inviting you to get to know our Trustees a little better and next up is chartered accountant and York Cocoa Works Director Mark Lister.

Trustees volunteer their time and skills to support Emmaus Leeds and play a vital part in ensuring we meet our strategic objectives and operate appropriately. A special thanks to all our brilliant Trustees for sharing their expertise with Emmaus Leeds.

1.    Why did you want to be an Emmaus Leeds trustee?
I had been aware of Emmaus Leeds for a number of years and having completed a period as a Leeds Trinity University governor and reached a stage where I felt I had time to properly contribute.  I knew that Emmaus Leeds were looking for new governors so I applied.
2.    What is your background and what has your career path been?
I am a qualified chartered accountant and spent 30 years in the profession specialising in corporate finance and working for three national/international firms during that period.  I also spent 5 years as Managing Partner of the Leeds office of one of those firms. In 2013 I left the profession to set up a small investment fund investing in developing businesses in the food and drink sector alongside continuing my corporate finance work as an independent consultant. I was also an independent governor of Leeds Trinity University for 9 years.  Currently I split my time between my consultancy work, including for a US based accountancy practice, and looking after the investments of the food fund, particularly York Cocoa Works where I am a Director.
3.    What do you enjoy most about being a trustee at Emmaus Leeds?
The feeling of being part of a community and the satisfaction of seeing companions develop and potentially move on. It is also very interesting to be part of a Board of Trustees from very different backgrounds.
4.    Where would you like to see Emmaus Leeds in five years’ time?
The difficulties of the Covid pandemic served to demonstrate the strength and durability of Emmaus Leeds as a Community and a trading entity.  We have emerged in a strong financial and community health position and it is important we build on that.  In 5 years time, I would like to see Emmaus Leeds develop outside of its current model to further meet its objective of helping people work their way out of homelessness.  At the moment we are looking as to where this may lead us with a Trustees Strategy day which hopefully will develop some ideas.
5.    Can you sum up what Emmaus means to you in one sentence?
A Community which helps people help themselves to deal with homelessness and the issues it brings with it.
6.    Tell us something interesting about you
As part of one of my investments I have been trained in the process to make a chocolate bar from the cocoa bean through to the bar (Although I can’t guarantee the quality of the results!).
7.    What food can you not resist?
Most things unhealthy unfortunately but put on the spot I would have to say a nice curry (Jalfrezi or Dopiaza).
8.    What is your favourite film?
Shawshank Redemption.
9.    What do you feel most grateful for?
The fact that I am (reasonably) healthy and financially secure.
10. What is your biggest achievement?
Developing a number of teams in my career the members of which have gone on to be successful in their own right and most of whom remain good friends.

Interested in becoming a Trustee for Emmaus Leeds? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with Donald Forrester at [email protected].