Boardrooms need not be stuffed only with wise old grey heads. Page Nyame-Satterthwaite was 19 when she joined the board of the National Childrens' Bureau, a charity that tries to influence policies aimed at young people.
The board had taken the wise decision to get more input from young people, directly infused to board level. Page was one of two youth trustees promoted to the main board.
The first thing she did was ask for help to understand the accounts ahead of her first board meeting. By the second meeting other NEDs were asking for the same support. When she started questioning what certain acronyms stood for, it turned out other board members had been similarly unsure - and that this had arguably skewed priorities.
More to the point, Page was part of the process to tighten the connections between the organisation and the work that it does; to close the gap between decision-making and operations. The simple addition of an agenda point to board meetings, seeking an update from the youth council, brought issues to attention that may have been overlooked otherwise.
When we sat around the NED Awards judging table, there was a feeling that asking simple questions is often the best way to get to good answers. And as all boards come under pressure to act with broader awareness of their stakeholders, there could be broader lessons to learn from Page's experience.
At Edelman, we always advise companies to think about all the stakeholders impacted by decisions - and for companies to place their Purpose at the centre of decision-making. That's not always as easy as it sounds.
Directors need not need to be experienced in cross-examining accounting policies to add value. And any process that raises issues from the front line of a business to its boardroom is worth examining.
Still only 24, Page is very much a NED to Watch. Given that she is only at the start of a career in the law, she seems destined to have an impact on society.
More to the point, the model for how Page and the NCB brought issues to the boardroom could offer insights for all types of organisations on how to flow insights to those who need them.