There is one very clear message. We all need to pull together, work collaboratively and share resources across our many networks to get through the next six to 12 months. Last week, while introducing our highly successful webinar ‘Governing in a time of crisis’, I commented that it is the network and relationships Women on Boards has forged over the past 14 years that will sustain us and our members during this extremely challenging time.
These relationships start with our longest-term corporate partner, Clayton Utz, who has been supporting WOB since 2005, and extends to AON, McGrathNicol, NAB and more recently, Grant Thornton and CPA Australia. Thank you all for stepping up and saying ‘yes’ when asked by us to lend the expertise of your staff to our events. We will call on each other many more times in the months to come.
WOB – physical not social distancing
We have decided at WOB that we need to practice ‘physical distancing’, but not ‘social distancing.' Why the distinction? Because more than ever we are going to need to socially connect across both our personal and professional networks – via phone, online or the many technology enabled meeting platforms. So, let’s physically distance or, better still, isolate if we can, but socially connect and share every day.
This means WOB won't be running any physical events for at least six months, but we will be significantly stepping up our online offerings with both existing and new content, reducing costs and fees where possible and enabling better ways for the network to stay in touch – to connect with like-minded others and share expertise, information and stories.
How we will be supporting you in the short to medium term:
- Reducing the annual renewal price to $165 until the end of 2020 (which is 20% less than the full membership fee).
- Reducing the cost of our workshops and boardroom updates and converting many of them online. This includes workshops and updates provided by McGrathNicol and Grant Thornton.
- Introducing a new series of expert webinars looking at how COVID-19 will impact organisations with specific reference to what directors should be considering.
- Fast tracking the launch of our new online community networking platform - WOBSHARE - to enable members to connect in a regulated and constructive way.
- Offering telephone and online support for members if you have a question or need support.
- Looking beyond COVID-19 to understand what the landscape will look like when the worst is over.
- Planning to celebrate with our WOB conference in the second half of 2021.
….and on a personal note
We all know 2020, as we might have dreamt it, is gone, and in its place stands a great global challenge. New businesses, once in a life-time trips, milestone birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, school and state sport….. so many things we had planned are no longer going to be possible in the new normal. Sadly, people will become very sick and many will die. We need to take responsibility for our own actions in preventing the possible spread of Coronavirus (COVID -19) to others - in particular the elderly and those who are vulnerable. I have made a decision to take my children out of school as I am not an essential worker and can work at home. Read my personal Facebook post if you are interested.
There are a lot of great initiatives and people out there to be supported and celebrated:
- The state health departments and all the medical staff for standing on the front line. Adopt a Healthcare Worker is a great way to use your resources to support the brave folk who will be challenged like never before in the months to come. Go to Facebook and search ‘adopt a healthcare worker’ for the option in your state.
- The principals and teachers in our schools – let them know how grateful you are.
- Government and community leaders doing their best in challenging times. Send them a message of support via email or on Facebook.
- Bouquets to Coles for donating $1million a week in food to those in need via Foodbank and Secondbite, and to all supermarkets for their handling of the panic buying.
- The Federal Government for supporting small businesses (including not for profits) and their employees.
- Your family and friends. Why not connect via online messaging with your close family and friends every night – particularly if you have an older parent or relative who lives alone. A friend of mine just asked us to a Zoom Roast on Sunday! Looking forward to it.
Above all stay safe, stay well and stay in touch.