We are now halfway through the year! It seems like the time is just passing by so quickly. What a difference a year can make! Last year at this time, many of us were still struggling with high levels of uncertainty as well as continued lockdowns and increasing COVID numbers. Now, a year later, the world is largely back to “normal”, many of us are travelling again, meeting with family and friends and just generally doing many of the things we missed for the last couple years.
When I look through social media it also warms my heart to see all the photos of clubs meeting once more, and members being able to reconnect and rebuild the camaraderie which we all missed. It is important to note, however, that we have learnt so much from the pandemic and we have certainly embraced flexibility and adaptability in many ways so as we return to “normal”, I would want us to ensure that we don’t lose the lessons learnt. Some of the key takeaways which have worked for us have been:
- Virtual/Hybrid Meetings: Even though many of us many be totally tired of online meetings, we cannot deny the advantage of it keeping us connected when we were unable to meet physically. It also allowed us to reach many more members who may have been restricted by attending physical meetings due to distance, work commitments or other issues. As such, as we move forward, this can still be an option which we can incorporate to ensure that even members who have busy schedules can still be involved and included in club meetings.
- Being adaptable: I have seen so much adaptability from us as an organization over the last couple years. We have finally embraced online meetings; we are close to chartering our first E-Club and we even had two fully virtual conferences! Those are big strides which occurred in a very short space of time. It shows that we have the ability to be creative and agile and I would encourage, as we move forward, that we continue along this path of evolution and move away from our previously prescriptive culture. I want to encourage clubs to work on developing their own unique cultures and truly adapting to what works for them and most importantly, their members.
- Creating spaces for open communication: I think one of the things which members truly appreciated has been the increased opportunities for communication, mostly seen through the various webinars which were hosted particularly by the PR and Marketing Committee and also the Membership Webinar which was held earlier this year. While these webinars all covered various topics aimed at assisting members, they also provided an opportunity for members to share their thoughts and a space to share learnings and experiences.
As such, even though we are slowly getting back to “normal”, let us aim to move forward with a “new normal” ensuring that we incorporate all that we would have learnt and adapting our strategies to Build Back Better!
SIGBI Director of Membership