We all spent the last couple days in the beautiful area of Llandundo, and what we fabulous time we all had! This year’s conference, despite being another virtual conference, brought a renewed sense of inspiration and passion for Soroptimism and the work which we do.
I am very sure we all missed attending a physical conference as for many this is where the joy really is, to meet and spend time with our Soroptimist friends from all over the world, who we would typically see only once a year. However, despite this as I sat looking at Facebook and viewing the pages of members, I saw many little groups getting together, with food, tea, glasses of wine and creating their own conference experiences. It may not have been ideal, but we can safely say that the world no longer is. As such, what I saw was members being able to adjust and adapt to create our “new normal” of what the conference experience could be.
I may have referred here to a simple adaptation like getting together at each other’s homes for conference. However, as we move our membership forward, in order to ensure the growth and continuity of our Federation, adaptation has to be at the centre of our operations. We must be willing to think differently, do things differently, and see the entire concept of membership differently. Instead of creating boundaries, we have to be willing to expand and test them to take us into the future. We have to reimagine Soroptimism as a concept that becomes attractive to all women of the world who have a passion to see the agenda of women move forward.
How do we do this, you might ask? Well, that’s exactly the point! The more we prescribe a specific pathway, the less adaptable we become. Now this does not mean we don’t operate within guidelines, that’s definitely not my suggestion. However, we have to be willing to shift, change, test and learn as we go along, and make the necessary changes if something is no longer relevant or working for us.
I had the great opportunity not only to interview some very young members as part of my membership presentation, but also to attend a coffee morning with some young women who were sponsored by different regions to attend the conference. Listening to them talk about how inspired they were after Day 1 was truly motivating and reminded me of my “WHY”. These young women were in awe at the work we do and are the future Soroptimists! They bring a sense of energy, positivity and passion that can only enhance what we already have. How can we continue to encourage and motivate them? How can we allow them to feel included and confident? The answers may vary with each club and each region, but let’s all commit to driving our membership, being willing to test, learn and adapt and without a doubt we will soon be celebrating our second centenary as a wonderful organization, serving thousands of women worldwide. Let’s all remember our “WHY” and Build Back Better!
SIGBI Director of Membership