Over the past month the Women on Boards team has cautiously celebrated the end of 2021 at events in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and on the Central Coast. We have caught up with many old faces and met many of our new members for the first time. At the Sydney lunch at The Women’s Club, two women realised they had spent hours on an online course together while two more were working closely in a migrant/refugee organisation but had not met. Like so many, they connected at WOB.
Meeting someone for the first time ‘in the round’ as it were, rather than as a small square on your screen, is a welcome experience. It’s the little things you appreciate. A hand gesture, a quick smile, a crinkle at the corner of their eyes – all of which add so much richness to what is said. It’s also the capacity for back channelling – when a listener gives feedback to a speaker to show that she is following or understands what the speaker is saying. This is very difficult - almost impossible – in the virtual realm.
For us, it has been a real joy to see the WOB ‘league of extraordinary women’ reconnect and share the experiences of the past two years. We have always known that the quality of the network is an inherent value of WOB. Over the years, partnerships have been established, businesses built, board roles achieved, personal challenges conquered, and friendships made. Women supporting women. A hand out and a hand up – in a circle of reciprocity.
To get through the years to come we will need every bit of kindness, generosity, ingenuity and spirt we have seen shine through WOB during COVID. Families, friends, and communities have lost loved ones, suffered illness and been mentally impacted by the huge changes to our way of life. Boards of organisations across all sectors will be faced with major cultural governance challenges as we move into 2022. Psychological safety will become part of a Director’s vernacular and we will all need every ounce of EI to look after our human capital. ESG (Environmental Social Governance) has already grown exponentially as an in-demand director skillset, and this will only continue through 2022.
WOB will be there through all these challenges and changes, to provide support, information and assistance. To enable our network to do what it does best – work together to influence for the better. To be the change we all want to see in the world.
Thank you to the hard-working and valued WOB team, Nicole Donegan, Angela Bowen, Victoria Featherby and Geraldine Cardozo and to our NEDs, Carmel Macmillan and MarySue Rogers.
Wishing you all a safe and peaceful Christmas season. Be kind to each other and gentle with yourselves. See you all in 2022.
Claire & Ruth