Hello and Goodbye!

For this is the last letter I will be writing for the IWC newsletter. After 30th April I hand over the reins of President to someone else and they will be saying hello to you in the May edition.

It has been an amazing two year journey both personally and professionally. There have been some incredible highs, such as meeting British Royalty, having dinner with the President of Bulgaria, the success of the two bazaars I have overseen and the fabulous celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of the IWC.

I am particularly proud of the fact that after two years we now are a professional organisation with talented staff, working with modern equipment in a modern environment and as a consequence we have improved our reputation amongst the business and diplomatic community in Bulgaria and made the job of the volunteers of the board more realistic and manageable.

We are also more forward thinking in our approach to the charities we support. We are constantly looking at our charity portfolio to make room for new partners and are brave enough to stop assisting those that do not meet our standards or who no longer need our help. We insist on robust reporting and checking, investigating all requests for help, even from long standing partners and seek improved ways of working to get better value for money from our donations.

I remember saying as I took over as President two years ago that I was no ‘Mary Poppins’ figure, able to wave a magic wand and make all that is wrong with the club right. Unfortunately, I think that is what some members wanted, expecting all of the input for success to come from the President and the Executive Board with little or no positive input from themselves. Although I am confident I have left the IWC-Sofia in a better shape than I found it, a club like ours can only move forward and function effectively if the majority of members are working to that end and together and not relying on a very few to do all the work and then criticising when things are not as they would like. I hope that from now on there will be more active participation from the members and much less negative comment of those who are volunteering to work on their behalf.

I have tried to be a good leader and manager, inspiring and empowering others to do the best job they can in the roles they have undertaken and to be a good ambassador for the IWC. I make no apology for the fact that my forward thinking and vision for the club and foundation has been a tad too radical for some! At all times I have only had the best interests of the IWC at heart and have sought to do my very best to secure the club’s future, as an organisation to be respected and that those associated with it can be proud of.

I would like to thank my board of the last two years who have helped me enormously and have achieved so much, particularly Maria Naslednikova, Maria Ilieva, Sibeal Reynolds and Angela Bird.

It will be hard this summer to leave the friends I have made at the IWC and for my family and I to leave this beautiful country of Bulgaria that we have called home for the last 5 years, but we will take with us wonderful memories of people and experiences.

I wish the new President and Executive Board every success, and everyone at the IWC much laughter, lightness of spirit and positive energy.