As non-executive director and chair of charity boards, I say to an executive team that my role is threefold: help them focus on vision and strategy, keep them accountable and delivering while being their ‘number one champion’, and make sure we follow charity rules and obligations. Oh, and when necessary, clear the rocks off the runway, helping the charity flourish and fly.

But the challenge at the moment is that the runway seems to have disappeared. As a result, I’m considering if my approach has to change in this season of COVID-19.

It’s interesting that reflecting on the story of Esther you find someone thrust from safety one day into great uncertainty the next. Here is a woman placed in a position of influence. Wise, discreet, discerning, watchful and understanding of how palace business works. She’s open and willing to take advice.

The most senior official in the palace, Hamann, second only in power to the king, hates the Jews and orders that they should all be slaughtered. The Jews’ world is rocked, and they are no longer able to live safely in King Xerxes expansive kingdom, no longer able to prosper. Suddenly life has become uncertain. 


If you know the story, you will be aware that an appeal is made to Esther to beg for mercy for the Jews from the king. She hears the challenge: Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

So, what does she do? She sends a message:

Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4.16)

She is about to use all her skills, discernment and influence, but first she begs for mercy from God, prays for His intervention, and gets others to pray too. 

In this uncertain time of COVID-19, what should I do? While I think my approach should be consistent with how I have always operated, I have sharpened my leadership priorities:


  1. Pray for people involved in the charity, working my way through the staff list and praying for each one. Pray for the light of Christ to shine. (To be honest, I have always done this, but it has risen to the top of my daily priorities and practise.)
  2. Pray for wisdom and clarity of thought and insight – even revelation – for the best approach for the organisation.
  3. Pray for the country: for its leaders, for its health, for the economy. What we face is far bigger than the individual area we work in and we should grasp the big picture

Prioritise people

    • Give support to the leadership team, encouraging new thinking, letting them know that they are doing a good job, watching out for their physical and mental health. Be available for them.
  1. Make decisions to treat people with the compassion and care that Jesus has for me. Whether that is a staff member, supplier or customer. Readily recognise the family, work and health pressures they face. See each one as a person made in the image of God.

Passionate about purpose

  1. Keep a passionate focus on our organisation’s core purpose, never losing sight of the vision for which we were established. 
  2. Take one step at a time, not rushing too far ahead but making sure decisions align with our purpose and the law.

And as I figure out where the runway has gone, I want to find ways to cooperate with others and listen to their ideas and views because, in this season, cooperation is going to be far more helpful than competition.