What Connecting Women did for me?
I cannot recall why what motivated me to go to my first Connecting Women meeting, but I will never forget that evening. I was wearing my favourite suit, I was late and I was wondering what I was letting myself in for. I rushed in the door, the meeting had started, and before I got myself settled, the chairperson asked me to introduce myself. I was nervous, I did it and I felt proud of myself for being so brave.
From those humble beginnings, I decided that it might be a good idea to get more involved. I offered up my services to the board as the newsletter editor and was invited along to my first board meeting. I am not, by nature, a committee woman and have never been involved in anything like this in my life. Sitting there with these incredibly warm women felt surreal. I felt like an imposter, pretending to be clever and capable. That evening, those women accepted me for who I was, welcoming my shy and hesitant suggestions and as a result I was hooked. Instead of the editor, I became responsible for Membership which I enjoyed immensely for five years.
Being part of the Connecting Women board gave me insight into the selflessness of these volunteers. The board women were, and still are, incredibly committed to their jobs. I was amazed at how hard they work, the level of professionalism and the number of hours that go into being a board member – and for what? They do it for the satisfaction of contributing to something worthwhile, because they believe in helping other women and because they know they are part of something special.
Connecting Women is special. The thing I love most about it is that it is inclusive. Anyone can go. You can be a member, a guest or an occasional visitor. You can be from any country in the world, including Holland and you can be in the paid workforce, the unpaid workforce and anything in between. You can get out of Connecting Women what you need. The club also provides a wonderful information service. I love having a browse through the back table to see what’s available in English and I love that the website and monthly email keeps me informed of workshops and events going on.
What I also love about Connecting Women is that I get to meet so many diverse women. In your typical social environment, you tend to be around people just like you. For example, I am a trainer and therefore mix with a lot of other trainers. Connecting Women, enriched my social network and therefore, enriched me as a person. I have met women from every continent of the world, countries such as Iran to Spain to Canada to – well you name it! I have met women who are trailing spouses (a term I had never heard before), and got to understand about this very interesting lifestyle and continue to admire their bravery at having to pack up their lives every few years. I have met philosophers, singing teachers, managers, entrepreneurs, coaches, IT specialists, accountants, sales executives, full-time mums, women on sabbatical. Each conversation enhanced my knowledge about the world and those in it.
Being on the board was also good for me. I had to manage a database, organise the registration table each month, make the badges, put together the membership book, welcome guests, contribute actively at meetings and as a result I developed a variety of new skills. I also learned a lot from the others: Kai who was the treasurer taught me how to read a financial statement.
Natasha who arranged the speakers inspired me with her ideas. Ruth, Jan and Jill were all presidents during my time on the board and each of these wonderful ladies gave me a nugget of wisdom. Ruth opened the world of art to me. Jan didn’t seem to be afraid of anything and taught me to be courageous. Jill continues to inspire me with her exceptional leadership skills, her vision and her ability make things happen.
I’m glad I found Connecting Women and I am proud of what this dynamic group provides for women. It has certainly enhanced my life and I know it will continue to do so for another 10 Years!
Jacinta Noonan Life Coach
Jo Parfitt – JoParfitt.com
Kathy Voyles – thelunchbox.blog.com