This is the address given by our member Maureen Howarth at the Regional Meeting on Saturday 03 November 2018:-
I am going to begin my address as I ended a year ago with a quote from Dora Lewis, International President of 1967 who I would have loved to have met.
“If the impact of Soroptimism is to be significant it requires the participation of every club. We need to learn to plan ahead and how to influence public opinion. Most of all we need to continue to dream!” Powerful words said more than 50 years ago.
As a Region it is important that we keep the clubs alive and members involved. Communication is so important in ensuring that we are all aware of each others activities and given the opportunity to support them if we are able to do so.
Forward planning helps Clubs and the Regional executive organise resources and activities efficiently and effectively to achieve our goals. Planning allows us to identify strengths and potential opportunities that we can take advantage of and be successful. It also allows us to concentrate our efforts on one focus and accomplish more. We must never stop aspiring to achieve our dreams and aspirations – after all that is why we do what we do!!
Friendship is still at the heart of our clubs, and I hope that as an organisation, we will never lose sight of this special attribute. If a member is unable to offer the hand of friendship, then Soroptimist International is not the organisation for that member.
Unfortunately, this year Friendship Evenings have had to be cancelled. We must ask ourselves “Why”? Do we need to change the name, format, venue or something else to enable these to continue? Or do we simply take them out of our programmes altogether?
When most members are asked why they are a Soroptimist the top answer is still Friendship and I would concur with that. Friendships formed help to retain members, but damaged friendships can sometimes result in a members’s resignation. The Liverpool Conference was proof of lasting friendships formed over years of service.
Speaking of Liverpool, I would like to pay tribute to the Conference committee for the magnificent work that they did to put our Region well and truly on the map. It was a credit to you all and thank you for all your hard work. A job well done! I would like to thank all the members who attended and supported the Conference in any way. You all proved that we can do when we do it together – a brilliant example of my theme for the year “Together We Can”.
At Conference all the speakers embraced federation President Sue’s theme of “Empower today, Enable tomorrow”, but Ellie Bird added an extra dimension to this, Equip. How appropriate would it be to add this to our other three E’s? Educate, Empower, Equip and Enable! I like it! Equip is so meaningful and is that not we do? Our project work allows us to prepare girls and women to perform tasks or helps them prepare mentally, to have the skills, to enable them to carry out tasks.
To conclude, I would like to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to be your Regional President. It has been a memorable and enjoyable twelve months and I would certainly recommend this position to everyone. Added to that I am now a bit lighter than I was 12 months ago and thanks to you we have been able to raise a considerable sum of money for MIND. However, I do feel that this role should be a minimum two-year term of office, to enable more continuity, especially when we are experiencing a period of transition. Obviously two years is a much bigger commitment, but the last 12 months for me have been a whirlwind! There was no role specification given to me last November (there might be one in the archives somewhere) so for me it was a suck it and see position. Having said that I hope that I have not upset any member along the way and if so, I apologise. I would like to thank the Executive for their help and support and the members of Pendleside for their encouragement. And on this note, I would like to end with this:
Soroptimism is like a camera,
We must FOCUS on what’s important,
CAPTURE the good times,
DEVELOP from the negatives
And if things don’t work out,
Take another shot!
“Together WE Can”