SIGBI President’s June 2017 Blog

Ann Hodgson - preferred image to use - not high res

Step up, Lead the Way

2017IntBusFinalistLogoWhite-04 (2)I know that I am at risk of repeating myself, however, I want to acknowledge our further success in the E3 Business Awards – Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland has also been shortlisted as a finalist in the International Business Category. And today (1st June 2017) we have heard that the judges running the Stockport Business Awards also want to speak to us following our submission. Yes, it’s been hard work to get this far, and I thank Lisa Roscoe – our Communications Officer for putting the submissions together.

We must now wait and see if we are successful, which will be wonderful, but we have already achieved success because we are getting our name out there in the local community.

This month, we have started the Federation “Growing Your Brand in the Local Community” workshops with the help of Affillius Ltd and Andrew Dewhurst. The feedback so far has been excellent and I do hope that as many Clubs as possible take the opportunity to attend the workshops in the UK. In the words of one member who recently attended the workshop:

I just wanted you to know that the workshop on Saturday was excellent. The information given was extremely helpful. I found that the discussions shared with members of the group inspiring. Because Croydon and Beckenham are close to each other we will be working together towards a stronger bond on ideas and how our clubs can benefit. Thank you very much for this top-quality workshop. Greatly appreciated”.

We are also working with Affillius Ltd to produce a series of Top Tip Videos covering the content of the workshops that will be made available to overseas Clubs.

May has been quite a busy month starting with attending an awareness training session on Trafficking run by the local government in Wales. It reminded me of key facts, but perhaps did not teach me anything new other than to clearly tell me that there is still a real need to raise awareness of this heinous crime in our Society. I hope to attend a train the trainer session later in the year that will allow me to go out and talk about Trafficking to other community groups etc.

As Soroptimists, we have already demonstrated how we have stepped up and led the way on Trafficking awareness, so I was pleased to hear from Kay Richmond Chairman of UKPAC that we (Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland) had been asked to carry out a survey across the UK on the level of awareness of Trafficking amongst the UK population. I really hope that Clubs and Regions in the UK will engage in this project that just adds to our existing work on this area of our programme focus.

RC2017-Federation-President-with-Regional-PresidentMay continued with a visit to the Joint conference of North West & Isle of Man and South Lancashire in Preston where I spoke on the conference theme “We for Me” in the context of Soroptimist International of Great Britain. It gave me the opportunity to talk about how we are Stronger Together and that it needs all of us to step up and grow our Organisation so that we can help more women and girls.

The following weekend, I attended the Joint North South Irish Conference in Londonderry. The joint Presidents have excellent themes for the year “Challenge, Change, Cherish” and “Respect, Rejoice and Recruit” and the whole weekend reflected them. There were some excellent speakers but the highlight was the winners of the Girls’ Public Speaking Competition. So, confident, so clear in what they wanted to say – and simply a delight to listen to during what was a weekend full of fun and friendship.

The month ended with my attendance at a Sustainable Development Goal presentation by the United Nations Global Compact about Making Global Goals – Local Business. Very interesting and I know that some Soroptimists have attended similar events elsewhere.

MCR-beeFinally, I want to finish by acknowledging the tragic loss of life from the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester. My heart goes out to all the victims of the attack – those who lost their lives, those injured, those recovering and all survivors of that night.  We must all come together across the world to stop this extremism, and women most definitely have a role to play in making this happen.

Yours in friendship

Ann Hodgson


Read previous blogs from SIGBI President Ann Hodgson: