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“Never A Dull Moment,” Icon Chair Siobhan Stevenson ACR Hails Role in Farewell Letter

You may have already heard that Icon is looking for a new Chair of the Board of Trustees. The news follows the announcement of current Icon Chair Siobhan Stevenson ACR to step down from the role at Icon’s AGM later this year. 

The vacancy is an incredibly exciting opportunity to support the future of the profession and promotion of world-class conservation practice. But don’t just take our word for it: in an emotive farewell letter, Siobhan describes her journey as Chair and outlines some of its key “rewards of achievement.”

Read Siobhan's letter below:

When I was selected as Chair of Icon, nearly four years ago, I was delighted to take up the opportunity to lead the organisation and progress some of the areas of work that I had been previously been part of as a member of the Board. My time as Chair has been a rewarding and personally fulfilling one and it is with some sadness that I recently confirmed my intention to stand down at the next AGM. I have been grateful for the extension of my tenure into its second term of office which has not only allowed me to see the Icon conference in Belfast, but also to provide continuity for the change of Chief Executive within the organisation. The latter was a strong motivation in remaining on as Chair for an additional year and I hope that this will make my successor’s transition to being Chair as smooth and unproblematic as possible.

It hardly feels like three AGMs have passed since I took up office, until I look back at all that has happened in that time. The organisation is stronger than ever and my aspiration to develop Icon with a more outward-facing role seems increasingly part of the fabric of the organisation. At the time I took up post, the challenges were to respond to the membership survey and the clear message from the members that advocacy was a major motivation for Icon membership. This has helped to inform the direction of the organisation and while Icon has punched above its weight for some time, we are increasing recognized as a go-to authority with major strategic stakeholders. 

The genuine involvement of so many enthusiastic and deeply committed one of the truly rewarding pleasures of heading up Icon. 

The extra year as Chair has been tremendously helpful in allowing me to see to fruition a number of initiatives that were either aspirations or in the early stages of development when I took up the role. The development of the Icon Strategy 2017-21 was chief among the considerations in my first year as Chair. The three themes of Advocacy, Excellence and Engagement have helped to focus activities internally while also making the organisation more coherent and understandable to our funders, supporters and the general public. The Strategy has, very much, been a driver for all Icon activities and hopefully will continue to provide a firm foundation for the next couple of years.   

A chief consideration in reinvigorating the organisation’s vision and purpose was to engage members and stakeholders alike in shaping our future direction. The genuine involvement of so many enthusiastic and deeply committed people – not only in the development but also in the delivery of the Icon Strategy – is one of the truly rewarding pleasures of heading up Icon. I am grateful to the Board, the specialist Groups, the people who have contributed to the many committees, and Task & Finish Groups who have delivered for Icon, as well as the many external partners who have worked with us.

“there is never a dull moment…you are always surrounded by people who are dedicated and who share a passion for cultural heritage”

In recommending the role of Chair I would say that, while there is never a dull moment and the enormity of the role and the workload can sometimes feel daunting, you are always surrounded by people who are dedicated and who share a passion for cultural heritage. That, in itself, is an affirming and encouraging incentive. There are also the rewards of achievement, both personally and for the organisation, and of learning a good deal from a wide range of great people. I am particularly indebted to all of the Icon staff, past and present, who have worked with me. It is reassuring to know that Icon is in such great hands.

It has been an honour and a privilege to be Chair of my professional body. I hope I have done some justice to the role of Chair, however there is always more that can be achieved, and I will leave a new set of challenges for my successor. As Icon embarks on the recruitment process, I can thoroughly recommend the role to anyone who is interested. It can be hard work but also incredibly satisfying, and it is a fantastic opportunity that I am grateful to have been able to take advantage of.

Siobhan Stevenson ACR


Want to be our next Icon Chair or Icon Trustee? Apply here before September 15!


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