Federation President’s Monthly Message


Federation Presidents Monthly Message

“From Vision to Action, Soroptimists Educating to Lead”

September 2013

August has been full of Soroptimist adventure and friendship for me, with lots of fun but some serious and even historic moments to be remembered and recorded. I can’t possibly include all the details so hope you get a flavour of what has happened this month – do email me if you want to know more!

Federation Presidents Monthly Message

Along with the leadership of the other Federations, the SIGBI delegation attended the Soroptimist International Board meeting at Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge. It is always enlightening to meet and talk with the representatives of all the Federations, to hear about their Programme activities and to exchange views about the future of Soroptimism internationally. This year was no exception; the major topic of discussion being whether SI should incorporate with or without charitable status.  ‘Charitable status’ can have a very different legal status in the different countries of the world and therefore the perspective on it may not be the same as in the UK.  The final decision was therefore that SI would become an incorporated body but not to proceed with charitable status at this point.  An historic agreement was signed and the full documentation will be completed with a view to filing being completed for 1st January 2014.

A new Constitution for SI was agreed to take effect immediately; one of the most significant changes in this being that the International Programme Director becomes an Officer of the SI Board. Congratulations to Hilary and best wishes as she takes on this new role.

Federation Presidents Monthly Message

The SIGBI Team at the SI Board Meeting

I have to say an enormous thank you to SIGBI members who have worked tirelessly and voluntarily for Soroptimist International throughout the Board meeting, to support the organisation and move it forward through a very challenging time:

  • Margaret Hyde of SI Cambridge has been acting in a part time capacity as the Executive Officer until the new Global Director, Deborah Thomas, could be appointed;
  • Giselle Davis, of SI Cardiff, who gave up her weekend to volunteer to be with the Board to provide them with legal advice;
  • Jo Darbyshire, of SI Blackpool and a former SIGBI President, who acted as consultant to the SIGBI delegation and ended up acting as consultant for all the Federations!

It was a great privilege to see everyone working to iron out differences of opinion, discussing openly those differences, and then resolving issues in the best interest of moving Soroptimist International forward for a modern world.

Federation Presidents Monthly Message

Alice Wells hands the badge of office to Ann Garvie, at the Change of Insignia ceremony

The weekend was capped for SIGBI with the transfer of the SI Presidency to our SIGBI Past President Ann Garvie, who has now taking up the reins of leadership on behalf of us all.

I was very proud to see that she was supported at the Change  of Insignia by so many SIGBI members.  Thank you everyone for joining us in the beautiful surroundings of Newnham College, complete with Scottish piper!

Federation Presidents Monthly MessageI rushed off to catch a flight to Trinidad
and Tobago to join representatives
from the Caribbean islands at the SI
Caribbean Network Conference in a
small paradise called Tobago!

Federation Presidents Monthly Message

Jenny Tasker, SI Guernsey, with Orville D London, Chief Secretary, Tobago

My first day was action packed, heading off with President Agnes Webbe to meet the Chief Secretary for the island, then the SI Caribbean Network (SICN) Council meeting, followed by a vibrant and colourful church service and the evening rounded off with a reception (party really!) hosted by the Tobago Chief Secretary, Orville D. London. He has been a great supporter of the work of Soroptimists on the island.  All Soroptimists know how to party and even the Soroptimisters had a good time!

The next day was packed full of activity again; we listened to amazing speakers who informed us about Trafficking across the Caribbean, as well as the Gender Agenda in Trinidad and Tobago.

There were many challenges thrown out for more work for Soroptimists which were the topics of discussion later.  During the afternoon we listened to the reports of the programme work from every club; what a stunning summary of Programme Action that was. My concern was that most of it has not been reported to SIGBI and is not on the database so I was able to explain the importance of knowing this for our new UN special status. (If you haven’t heard about that yet then check out the news item on this website).

Federation Presidents Monthly Message

Marguerite Woodstock-Riley

At the SICN Council meeting members voted a Special Honorary Award to Past SIGBI President Marguerite Woodstock Riley, SI Barbados, for all her support and encouragement to many clubs across the Caribbean.

The Change of Insignia took place at the gala dinner, with outgoing President Agnes Webbe handing over the beautiful SICN chain to incoming President Madelaine Mills from Turks and Caicos. The next Conference will be held in Providenciales in 2015.  The claim is that this is an even more stunning venue so put a note in your diary to visit!

Following the Conference I was able to visit SI Scarborough, having breakfast with members on a terrace with a view across the tropical bay which must be second to none. We headed off after the meeting to visit one of the projects which Soroptimists are involved in, Healing with Horses.  SI Lichfield, the friendship link club in the UK, has contributed funding and doubled the number of young people assisted by the project. To find out more have a look at their websitewww.healing-with-horses.com and see how children with disabilities have their lives changed by working with horses.

It was with great sadness I left Tobago but with many happy memories, and headed for a visit to SI Chaguanas on Trinidad.  The members have been re-invigorated by all they heard at the SICN Conference and interacting with Soroptimists from so many other Caribbean countries.  They were buzzing with ideas on how to take their club forward and the new programme action activities they could get involved with.  I look forward to hearing how this all comes to fruition.

Federation Presidents Monthly Message

President Agnes Webbe and her Team

Little did I know as we headed for the UK and home the adventures which were ahead of us and how well I would get to know the International airports over the next few days.  However, thanks to flight delays I did make the acquaintance of two delightful young women, Joyce and Nicole, both from London. They in turn became acquainted with Soroptimism and I do hope they will soon join with us to turn our Soroptimist Vision into Action.  I look forward to hearing from you Joyce and Nicole.

Pat Black

SIGBI President 2012-2013

“From Vision to Action, Soroptimists Educating to Lead”