Dr Lena Madesin Phillips, BPW International Founding President said:
“It is not by chance or through the efforts of its leaders alone that a club continues to be worthy of its heritage and of its Mission, every member is of fundamental importance.”
The question presented for this month is how do you get clubs to respond to issues raised in the National Circular?
Why? Because to date there has been two clubs and one member who have responded within days to the questions raised in regards to issues with ‘selling BPW’. Thank you to BPW Cambridge for their candied and prompt response which raised some issues that are fundamental within a lot of clubs and some of the issues have been highlighted from the comments and discussions with a number of members across NZ over the last couple of years.
To ensure growth of membership it is important to have the strong foundation within the club itself. Items that have been common in response to why women become members are:
- Social Interaction with other women who have a purpose – networking/support/debate
- Speakers – learning/education/development
- Advancement of women – political discussion (thanks BPW Kaitaia)
- opportunity to mix with like-minded women once a month outside other commitments/responsibilities
- not a service group.
Other issues that are encountered from small to large clubs are:
- communication within the club
- how potential new members are welcomed at a club meeting
- how new members are assimilated into the club, breaking down the barriers and cliques
- information that is provided by club members and their Executive
- communication and support between BPW NZ Federation and clubs
- rewarding members who bring potential new members/guests to club meetings
- identifying what a club and its members want to achieve at club level and Nationally
- indentifying what BPW really is, the Aims and how to promote them
- changing the perspectives of women within the community, who upon hearing the name Business & Professional Women say “I am not a professional or business woman, so it wouldn’t be for me…”
- acknowledging the special women within our organisation who are, or have been during their term, a driving force to ensure BPW’s name and reputation is there and ensuring our role as a strong lobbying voice for all women in NZ.
- acknowledging the simple achievements and being recognised by outside groups, communities or organisations.
So here are some suggestions and ideas to assist in the above, to strengthen the roles of existing members as future ambassadors of BPW at club level and for some future Federation Officers and Convenors:
(i) Communication, when a guest arrives, say more than hello then walk away, yes this does happen and more frequently than some would be prepared to admit. Draw new members into your groups, find out what they are interested in, and introduce them to others with similar interests.
(ii) Rewarding members who bring guests and having a different dinner price for members and guests, thanks to BPW Tamaki’s Faye Gardiner who provided the following notes:
- Members pay one fee
- Guests pay a different cost to attend the dinner, if they join their meal prices will be cheaper (an incentive to become a member)
- If a member brings a guest they will get $2 off their meal
- this is an easy incentive any club could implement.
(iii) Identification of new members so other members can identify them, for example BPW Franklin provides a green & yellow ribbon to be worn by the new members for a year. This gives the opportunity for committee and club members to identify them and draw them into their conversations, groups or tables, not to leave them isolated.
(iv) Mixing members up at different tables, use different tools or events to achieve this. Yes this does pose a challenge for some members who use this opportunity to catch up with friends, but as one member remarked at our recent Candlelighting event “I sat with so & so and it was really nice to meet another member of our club, what a lovely lady……we all had a great night at our table”
(v) Utilising your mentors from BPW NZ. This was re-launched last year where BPW Executive members were given a number of clubs to work with and be a voice between club level and the Federation. To break down barriers and provide a more personal point of contact. Utilise these ladies, email them with questions and if they can’t help then they will approach someone who will have the skills and knowledge to do so. If you do not know who your Federation Mentor is, please contact Angela McLeod or myself for your contacts.
As you are aware the Oceania Regional Meeting will be held this year in Wellington on the 31 July & 1st August. The invitations have been sent and if you wish to attend the dinner at Parliament you must complete and email the form back with an email address for the dinner so a personal invitation can be emailed through. This event will come under a section of your Keys To Achievement programme, provides an ideal opportunity to meet members of the Pacific regions and International that you may only meet at an International Congress. So I do hope you will join us for this educational event next month, one of the key topics is BPW International Constitution, another KTA item to achieve.
That is my report for this month and over the next couple of weeks I will be involved in the updating of the BPW NZ manual. Look through your current copy, if there is something that is missing, maybe some guidelines on protocol within club management or identifying who has authority to action spending of income, let me know and if the Manual is not the place for this then this could be an opportunity for club constitutions to be updated and developed further. Let your voice be heard!
Carolyn Savage, PBPW
BPW NZ 1st Vice President