Parrys Raines: 22-year old Board Member Shaping a Sustainable Future

Paul Smith

Parrys Raines is a young woman who is already sitting on her first board, the Future Business Council. From an early age, she knew that she wanted to be in the position to make decisions at a high level to enact change in an organisation, so she thought the Future Directors Institute looked fantastic right from the start. She signed up straight away to do it once she received the email promoting the course.

As someone eager to jump into a career as a director, Parrys immediately recognised what the Future Directors programme could do for her, as opposed to other programmes. Future Directors was not solely focused on just the governance element of being on a board, but the program was dedicated in helping its participants discover their unique value proposition. For Parrys, this was one of the most invaluable aspects of the course and, for her, that meant finding her passions, understanding what kind of board position suited her, and realising where she could have the most impact.

One of the key aspects that Parrys hopes to push forward on board agendas in particular is sustainability and being conscientious citizens of the environment. She deeply believes that if sustainability is ingrained within an organisation from the top down, the business will experience a competitive advantage because it will show the public and consumers that the company cares more about bigger issues like the environment, not just profit. Having the opportunity to be a leader, not just as an individual, but as a company and as a united board, is of high importance to Parrys. It is her belief that businesses wield such influence on society and the future, more so than stereotypical leaders such as politicians, so pushing other companies and the public to be environmentally friendly can be dramatically game changing.

In her first board position with Future Business Council, Parrys has seen the huge impact that smaller organisations can have. For example, she is the CEO of the youth subset of the board called the Future Business Generation of 18-28 year-olds who care about the future of the Australian economy and the future of work. By getting young people who are passionate about solving tomorrow’s problems today together, the board is helping drive a message of intergenerational communication and equity. Overall, Parrys’ first year on the council has been an absolutely amazing experience and she has been able to learn so much from her fellow board members. With her first position under her belt, she has been made more certain that a career as a director is something she wants to keep pursuing.

Looking ahead, Parrys wants to pursue a board position at a larger organisation, which she sees as an exciting opportunity and learning experience, to broaden her skill set from working with the smaller Future Business Council. Parrys also hopes to empower and engage more young people to sit on boards, push for diversity and expand the number of women on boards and take the lead in altering the fiduciary duties of directors in regards to climate change. For Australian companies who fail to consider climate change risk, Parrys hopes to mark her legacy as the director who supports boards being found liable of breaching their duty of care for the future.

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