Sixty Second Interview
We interviewed our Commissioner Catherine Hardman about her role.
A Royal Commissioner is an odd title. What do you actually do?
Being a Royal Commissioner is little like being on the Board of Governors of another organisation. As a group the Commissioners provide oversight of the running of the organisation, so there are regular meetings at which we come together with Royal Commission staff to review what has been achieved (usually an enormous amount), but also to help form and shape the future direction of the Commission’s work. Depending on the specialism of the Commissioner we sometimes get involved in particular projects or areas of work.
How did you come to get the position?
I applied, was interviewed (in a very snowy Cardiff), and got the job! A colleague had highlighted the opportunity to me; the Commission were, at the time, looking for expertise in the area of digital preservation and I fitted the bill. It was a straightforward process and very open, although it was a bit odd having to wait for the Queen to sign off your job offer!
You’re in your second term now, so what do you like about it?
I became a Commissioner in 2010 and I think I was the youngest female Commissioner to be appointed at the time and, at first, found it a little intimidating to be surrounded by such a wealth of experience and skills in my fellow Commissioners. But everyone was so friendly and welcoming that I soon found my feet and was able to contribute. I’m now the Vice-Chair so I must have done something right!
I like the fellowship among the Commissioners and working with a small, highly functioning organisation such as the Royal Commission always throws up challenges and innovations that keep me interested and learning new things all the time. Having a shared deep interest for the historic environment of Wales in all its guises means we work as a team to achieve shared aims; it’s very fulfilling.
What have you learned from your experience?
Not to underestimate myself; that working together we bring to the table experience which is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I’ve brought that breadth of that experience back to my day job, which I’m sure has played a huge part in progression in my own career.