I’m going to tell you a little secret – I’m really excited about the WBN’s AGM this year.

Looking at that statement, I have to wonder if anyone has ever said they were excited about an AGM before. It’s a bland, boring, dry name for what is arguably the most important meeting of the entire year.

Annual General Meeting.

It doesn’t get your heart racing, does it?

WBN AGM: Amplify our voice. Grow our membership. Make a difference. September 15, 2015It all comes down to how you look at it, and I’m looking at the AGM
as a chance to celebrate what has happened over the past year in this amazing network. We will recognize our current leadership for the work they’ve done and the milestones they’ve achieved. Trust me when I say that there’s a lot to celebrate.

We’re going to talk about numbers

Before you fall asleep at the mere mention of numbers, think about it like this:

Do you know your business’ numbers, or the numbers in your budget at your place of work, or the number that shows up on your paycheque?

The WBN’s numbers are valuable in exactly the same way…mostly. They’re actually special, because the WBN’s financials reflect on our ability to deliver on our promise to support and develop our members. They reflect on our ability to grow and help members grow – with the probable outcome of increasing all those other numbers in your world. When you know the WBN’s numbers, you can know whether our leadership are being good stewards of the investment that you and many others are making in the network.

One of the first rules in business is to know your numbers and even if you’re not a numbers person (like me!) they’re still important.

We’re going to give out awards!

This is possibly my favourite part of any big gathering when awards are involved. I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in several different awards programs and I never get tired of seeing the winners announced. It’s so lovely to see people recognized for exceptional things they’ve done. The only real issue is that there are so few awards and so many who are deserving. Thank goodness we do this annually! Take a few minutes to check out the awards that we give out each year. They are designed to inspire you to spread the benefits of the WBN to more women.

We’re going to hear from three BYA recipients.

As the incoming President, I was given the opportunity to choose a theme for the month of September, which is also the theme of our AGM. I chose “daring greatly”. Check out the quote that phrase originally appeared in:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

~Theodore Roosevelt

Our panel discussion – with Frances Mannarino, Rosa Maria Iuliano, and Terri Storey – is going to give valuable insights to members. These women are all incredibly accomplished and know what it means to dare greatly. They have generously agreed to come and share their thoughts about how their careers have been impacted when they dared greatly, and showed strength through vulnerable times.

Brené Brown talks about “leaning into the discomfort of change” in her book, Daring Greatly, which served as partial inspiration for our theme as well. Talk to any of our members who’ve been around for the last 3-4 years and you’ll know that changes and accomplishments have happened fast and furious:

  • We hired an Executive Director. (Susan is so fabulous, isn’t she?)
  • Our website has been totally redesigned.
  • Committees have streamlined and documented their processes and procedures.
  • We’ve established an expanded succession structure for leadership by adding vice chairs to committees.
  • Membership has more than doubled in under 2 years.
  • Consistently establishing new opportunities to benefit members, such as Strut Your Stuff.
  • We are building partnerships with key organizations and groups that contribute to the WBN’s success.
  • For the first time in 2015, we sold out the BYA Gala and the golf tournament.
  • We’re creating exciting new sponsorship opportunities to give exposure to those who support the WBN.

This amount of change can be overwhelming, even if we see the short- and long-term benefits. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable with change even if you also believe it’s positive. It’s practically a universal truth that change is hard – harder still if you don’t like it. Changes can bring on negative feelings if your own ideas are being updated. I think we’ve all experienced that.

I strongly believe that making the business community in Ottawa better for women is our guiding force – all the rest is just details. With each new leadership team that comes into the Executive and Board, we have an opportunity to build on the successes of the previous leadership team. Change, therefore, is inevitable.

As women in the business community in Ottawa, we are stronger together than we are apart. As a network we can affect change for individuals and the business community on the whole. The AGM is unique in that it offers us a closure at the same time that we start fresh in the new year – with new ideas, new perspectives, and new opportunities.

Let’s look at the AGM differently – not as a business meeting, but as a way to have a discussion about our network and how we can dare to grow forward. Let’s look forward to learning more about how we can amplify our voice, grow our membership, and make a difference.

Tell me – are you excited about the AGM now?