International President Yvonne Simpson

Yvonne Simpson

“Tena Koutou, Tena koutou, Tena koutou, Katoa”

What a beautiful greeting, this is the Maori oratory that International President Yvonne Simpson opened her presentation to delegates at conference, translated these mean:

“Greetings, greetings, greetings to you all”

IP Yvonne introduced her children to us, and then asked how do we as members introduce Soroptimist International.

Do we say how old we are?

Do we say that we are related to Soroptimists around the world in 132 Countries?


Do we more likely say, we transform the lives of women and girls? Do we talk of the projects, the service to others, the work we do to make a better world for women and girls, do we share our mission?

IP Yvonne feels that we are more likely to go with last one!

She then spoke on how engineering is about making something happen, bringing together all the people, resources, planning, to achieve something greater for the future, it is about problem solving to making it happen.

IP Yvonne posed the question, “How do you engineer to bring about the best outcome?”. She outlined that the SI Board has a Vision for the future, one where Soroptimists have an impact.

  1. We need to know what we want, we need a VISION for what we want to achieve.
  2. Our contribution to this Vision, is our MISSION, this has now been simplified by the SI Board as: Soroptimist International transforms the lives of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities
  3. Our PRINCIPALS guide our Mission, through the Articles of Association, By-laws and Manuals
  4. PLAN, the SI Strategic Plan has been agreed for 2016 – 2019 and the priority areas are: global advocacy, global communication, International Convention, SI President Appeal, and SI Strategic Leadership.

Informing us that Advocacy is the key priority for SI, we are a Global Voice for women and girls and to have this voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide, we must be HEARD at the highest level. No country has yet achieved gender equality so the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are relevant for all countries. SI must advocate at the United Nations on behalf of all countries. SI has a voice at the UN, through our consultative status and members can empower SI to “Engineer the Future” when we tell the stories of our projects. SDG 5 Gender Equality intersects with all other SDGs.

SI President Yvonne spoke of her International Appeal and how clubs are working at grassroots levels, focusing on rural areas, how SI is working with partner organisation, all to improve the lives of women and girls affected by the earthquakes in Nepal.

SI President Yvonne informed the delegates that the next SI Convention will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2019 and promised an exhilarating, enlightening and exciting Convention.

In closing President Yvonne encouraged us to

  • lead the band and build a safe and peaceful community
  • educate ourselves for a new future
  • contribute to “Engineering a Future”

She asked us to be FRIENDS because:

  1. F – Friendship in Federations and beyond
  2. R – Report your projects -, PFRs
  3. I – Increase membership – be inclusive
  4. E – Educate to Lead
  5. N – Nepal – support the SI President’s Appeal
  6. D – Deliver the Mission
  7. S – Stand by and support each other

This is the combination of service and support, she told us, ” I am not a high wire flyer, stepping up to this role took he out of my comfort zone, but I am stepping up to the challenge. Are you stepping up with me?”.

Maureen Maguire

See President Yvonne’s full presentation