Heading her own firm of solicitors has given Jan Stanton excellent credentials for a trustee role at her local hospice charity.
The health and wellbeing of her staff has always been a top priority for the family law specialist, and her concern for others is reflected in her role at ellenor. She is as concerned with the happiness of the charity’s employees as she is for the patients and families they help.
She said: “A happy firm is a productive firm, and the same goes for a care organisation. Every member of staff at ellenor has an equal level of importance. For instance, if a member of the housekeeping team isn’t there for some reason, everything can go wrong. Valuing staff and staff seeing that they are valued makes such a difference to morale.
“I think I get as much out of my involvement with ellenor personally as I give back, so it’s a wonderful opportunity for me.”
Jan, who became a trustee at ellenor five years ago, has witnessed at first-hand how the charity has risen to the challenges of the Covid pandemic.
She said: “It has certainly been difficult over the past few years, but I admire the way the management team has handled it -- everyone at ellenor is recognised and that is important as when people become disenfranchised it can cause a ripple effect. I have been impressed by the way ellenor and its HR team have risen to the challenges.
“When clients come into me at my office in Gravesend, I never actively encourage them to think of ellenor when they are writing their wills for example, but many of them do. That tells me what high regard ellenor is held in.”
Jan, who qualified as a solicitor in 1977 and runs Stanton's in Gravesend, chairs ellenor’s Governance and Risk Committee.
She said: “It is about taking ultimate responsibility for ensuring the charity is complying with all its governance requirements. A trustee is often described as a critical friend.”
Jan joined ellenor in 2016 as she could see it had a very good reputation and was a forward-thinking charity, and she is delighted that continues to be the case.
She said: “There is a constant evolution of new ideas and procedures and that’s exciting. What I like is an organisation where everybody is up for trying a new idea. Even if it has been tried before, they will try it a different way.
“I also think it’s always important to ask how changes will affect different cohorts of staff. We need to ask ourselves, are we listening to them?”
It is not surprising that Jan has empathy with people of all ages from all walks of life. She sat as a Deputy District Judge in the Central Family Court for over 12 years until she retired last year.