Outgoing Chair Martin G Bell: ‘I end my tenure filled with confidence and optimism’

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  • General news

23 September 2021

On 1 October, my two-year term as Chair will end when I proudly pass the baton into the capable hands of Mark Whittaker. As I reflect on my tenure, the context has been one of adverse impacts from both imaginable and unimaginable challenges with Brexit and the pandemic. Despite this, I end my tenure filled with confidence and optimism. Confidence in how we responded to the immense challenges and embraced digital member-centric solutions. Optimism because I know Linda and I, with the support of the Board, volunteers, and colleagues, have laid strong foundations for growth and capitalising on post-pandemic workplace opportunities.

I’ve been committed to driving diversity and inclusion (D&I) because I want our members to feel like they belong. I am delighted how we have improved the cohesion between the Board, the Executive team, and the Committee Chairs. We are making fantastic steps forward with our pursuit of D&I and have had a great response from members to be involved with our new focus group where we will form our policy. I have also been closely involved in IWFM’s Community Review, which seeks to optimise the engagement between our volunteers and IWFM overall.

This started in 2019 as a review of how our Regions and SIGs are structured. However, we embraced member feedback and this evolved into a review of our governance. This led us to seek independent expertise so our governance structure reflects best practice and moves the Institute towards its goal of achieving Chartered status. Throughout the entire process, we have acted with absolute transparency and have kept our volunteer Committee Chairs and Communities Review Working Group members abreast of the developments they have helped to shape.

Some feedback was critical and confrontational, stating ‘nothing will change’. I stood before Members’ Council and spoke on behalf of the Board, where I assured members that I was ‘all in’ for change, as was the Board, but we needed to be ‘all in’ together for this to work. I am delighted to say we come to our members with the opportunity for change by putting a meaningful resolution to the vote at next week’s AGM. The resolution will help strengthen the connection between the Board and Members’ Council, shaping our governance and the direction of the Institute for years to come.

But we need our members support to deliver this change and to continue to constructively engage so we can harness the true power of our communities. The Community Review process to date demonstrates that members not only have a voice, but also a hand in the future direction of IWFM. Please get involved with your relevant Region or SIG and join us on this journey.

This is not the end of the story, and I look forward with excitement at what the Institute can achieve. With Mark and Linda leading the way, I am in no doubt the Institute is in the best hands to build on the foundations Linda, myself, the Board, and the Committee Chairs have helped to establish.

Kind regards,

Martin G Bell

Outgoing Chair, IWFM