Welcome to my first words to you all in 2019. As always at this time of year it is a good time for reflection – both on personal matters and professional. We are in ‘interesting times’ politically and there is so much unknown that I feel drawn to consider those touchstones of my professional life that ground me in times that are difficult. Networking is one of those – the ability to reach out, plug into a network and recharge with like-minded colleagues is hugely valuable, and reminds me that I am not alone!
Our North East Women on Board network remains one of our very strongest suits, and the redoubtable Anne Cuthbertson, who leads it, continues this year to put forward speakers and contributors who bring enormous value to every woman in a boardroom, no matter how big or small that room might be.
I broke a personal rule not to work at weekends, to reach out to Anne for a few words on her hopes for this critical network in 2019. Anne was also online, and said: “The trust, support and guidance between those IoD members who come along to the Women on Board meetings generates huge benefits as well as lasting friendships. I’m looking forward to building on that through our programme of bi monthly meetings in 2019.”
I am also delighted that we are already at 190 attendees for our Annual Dinner on 4th April, at the Gateshead Hilton. If you haven’t bought your ticket or table yet, please do. Anne and her fellow WoB members be there in force, and we already have a huge, diverse range of senior leaders and their colleagues coming along.
My theme for this year’s event is collaboration and community. To evidence this we have brought together two of our region’s most high profile adversaries, Newcastle and Sunderland Football Clubs, and will be raffling off money-can’t-buy prizes throughout the dinner (using unobtrusive new technology on each table) to support their respective Community Foundations. We have legendary speakers from each side of that debate on stage as well as our keynote speakers: legend herself, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and our very own Woman on Board, Charlotte Valeur, the IoD’s inspirational new Chair.
I am so pleased that Charlotte is able to join us on the evening and I know that she is looking forward to the event as well. She was also checking weekend email, whilst juggling her three children’s weekend schedules, and said: “I am delighted to be able to partake in the North East Annual Dinner this year. It is a great opportunity for me to meet members and be part of the wider IOD community. I am really looking forward to a great evening.” Book Now
Welcome, then, to a busy, exciting, and positive 2019. The voices, and support, of my network of colleagues and friends are, for me, critical to providing me with the energy and focus that I think will be required this year. Whilst there is a large part of me that is looking forward to looking back over this fascinating period of business and political life, it is absolutely an invigorating time to live through. There is such a lot happening, much to aim for, and so many people in our IoD networks to inspire us and help us all along the way.
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Dr Joanna Berry, IoD North East Chairman