**Club President Linda Shall’s Message for the Club Year 2018-2019

Message from President Linda

I joined the St Albans & District Soroptimist International Club (SIStA) a little over two years ago because its stated aim is to help women and girls, locally and internationally, achieve their full potential.  Throughout my life I have been motivated, encouraged and supported by many remarkable women, and a few impressive girls, to reach beyond what I thought was my full potential, and the opportunity to ‘give back’ even a little of that moved me to investigate whether SIStA was the Club for me.

Four things persuaded me to join –

  • an informal chat on a balmy evening in Summer 2015 with Past President Denise, and
  • a review of Communications Officer Jane’s excellent Club website, which comprehensively records SIStA’s extensive range of service and fundraising activities
  • the way this Club manages its Programme Action activities by distilling Soroptimist International’s five Programme Areas into three teams – Learning Opportunities, Sustainable Environment and Wellbeing, Elimination of Violence against Women
  • a review of the Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) website www.sigbi.org , which drew my attention to the global scope of the organisation and especially its embracing of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals agenda

Although I am still a novice at all things Soroptimist I am not daunted by the task of President (m-m-much!) because I follow two excellent Past Presidents – President Rita and President Denise – who have already very generously given their advice, assistance and precious time to help me prepare for the year ahead.  I say to them that I will unashamedly emulate your careful and diligent management of the coming year’s Club’s programme but reassure you both that I will take responsibility for every mistake I will undoubtedly make!

My theme for Club Year 2018-19 is to manage to completion the next two years’ identified Growth Plan goals.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  We are a large Club with around 30 energetic Members supported by lively Executive Officers, and I am confident we have the capacity and competence to move this vital project forward.  Growth is not simply recruiting more Members, but also retaining existing Members, which for me means prioritising Programme Action at Club and Executive Officer level.

I propose that the Club continues to support the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge, the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge and Home-Start Herts.  Their traditional funding streams have all but disappeared since the financial crisis in 2008 because Councils have lost half their previous income sources from Council Tax and central government grants.  I also propose that the Club continues to help the IPI project in Kenya achieve its objectives.

I will be a hands-on President, but I don’t have any superpowers, so please listen out for my many entreaties for help, advice and information throughout the Club year.  To that end I would like to echo a comment made by Past President Rita in her message for the Club Year 2017-18 – that getting involved with Programme Action team activities is the best way to get the most out of being a Soroptimist.  If there is something you want to do or promote within the Club that doesn’t seem to fall into a Programme Action team responsibility, please mention it to any Executive Officer member.  Where there’s a will to help women and girls the Soroptimist way – that is by educating, enabling or empowering them – the Club will find a way!

For more information about the Club please click this link –

www.sigbi.org/st-albans/about-our-club/about/

Finally, our Club prides itself on being friendly and welcoming, so if you have come to this page as a non-Member I encourage you to come along to one of our meetings and find out what we are all about – we would love to see you – simply –

to let us know you are coming.

In Soroptimist friendship

Linda Shall, Club President