SIGBI President’s October 2019 Blog

The last year has flown over. As I am about to hand over the role of SIGBI Prescient to Incoming President Isobel it is a time of reflection.

Being SIGBI President is a privilege and one not taken lightly. In the last year we, you and I as members, have been on a journey together. A very rewarding journey. I have had the opportunity to meet some inspiring and committed Soroptimists across the Federation. From The South East and South West of England to Scotland North and Ireland to further afield and to the Caribbean, I have travelled to learn and get to know about the amazing life changing work that we do which makes a significant difference to the lives of others.

Through these travels, I have experienced Soroptimist passion, commitment and dedication at its best. I have felt warmth, friendship and a strong welcome wherever I have journeyed. I have seen what being a Soroptimist really means as our membership shapes and improves our lives and the lives of the women and children we support. I understand how far reaching our influence can be.

At the beginning of the Soroptimist year, I asked you to ‘Think On It.’ I asked you to join with me to raise awareness of our own wellbeing. I asked that we talked about mental health and the importance of advocating for the good mental health for others by speaking out and raising awareness. By doing so, we are educating, enabling and empowering  ourselves and others. And you did so in many, many ways! Thank you.

The most evident examples are through the numerous conferences, speaker meetings and projects  across the Federation where you have highlighted mental health in the last year. You have stood up beside those struggling with post-natal depression, anorexia, dementia and many more issues that impact on the lives of women and girls. You have said its okay to talk openly about this issue.

I have been touched by the number of members who have told me about their own struggles with mental health and those of their family and friends. It seems that nearly every family knows someone who has faced difficulties, and that is why it has been so important that we, as Soroptimists have spoken openly and raised awareness further of what good mental health can be like.

You made this theme come alive, you made the theme a reality and you made me proud to be a Soroptimist! Thank you.

This year your Federation Management Board, Consultants, Councillors and our staff in the office have worked tirelessly on a number of projects in order to take our organisation forward. They have provided a new programme data based for recording the work that we as members do, a new online magazine, gift aid, a new Trading Company and launched Growth Plan 3. Also, in the making is our approach to patrons, grant funding, a new website,  and plans to celebrate our first 100 years! Of course, we are also proposing a new slimmed down Board structure, which will be more cost efficient and will work more smartly by utilising the skills far more effectively of our members. I am looking forward to the lively debate at conference when members will decide how we move forward. All of this work can only be achieved by volunteers giving their time freely for the benefit of other volunteers, our members.  Thanks to everyone for what has been achieved so far.

But there is still lots more to do. I am very optimistic about the future of our organisation because it is built firmly on the work of its members. We must and will persevere with our efforts to improve the lives of women and children. I know that Incoming President Isobel and her team will lead us well as we move forward.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart of your support  and friendship this year. The journey continues…. and we will do too.

Sue Williams
SIGBI President 2018-2019

Read previous blogs from President Sue Williams and the FMB: