Tue 1 Apr. 2014

Farewell to a Presidential icon

What one word would you use to describe your year in office?
Rewarding, definitely rewarding.
During my presidency as well as celebrating our 50th Anniversary we have achieved so much. Professionally we have gained CPD accreditation for the Learning and Development sessions we provide, revamped the local institute website, hosted numerous Sports and Social events with record attendance and even got ourselves noticed by appearing in the Journal magazine.

Perhaps more rewarding on a personal level for me was hosting our Past Presidents’ Luncheon where we bought together 23 Past Presidents. I’m touched by how well attended the event was and how far some travelled to be there.

Sounds like you’ve been busy! With so many achievements what was the highlight of the year for you?
Just one? There are so many to choose from!
If I have to pick I would say coming together with other local institute Presidents. With such a diverse mix of people with so many ideas it granted me a lot of insight into how best to run our local institute. The coming together and sharing of ideas and best practice gives a good insight into what concerns other institutes have and it’s great feeling part of a wider team, it can feel lonely at the top! (laughs)

Now that your presidency is coming to an end how do you feel looking back?
A part of me feels it would be worth doing the Presidency as a 2-year role, what I know now would stand me in good stead to carry forward into a second productive year, and the momentum being far greater. Sometimes I feel it got off to a slow start at the beginning of my term of office.

However, not being greedy I appreciate a 1 year term in office is more than adequate to let fellow colleagues all be given the chance to perform in this capacity, making the most of their own unique skills in order that the Institute does not become stalemate to a select few council members.

What areas do you think Bolton CII has made the most progress in this year?
We’ve made a lot of progress this year but the standout areas for me are firstly our website, it’s been bought up to date and given a new lease of life with social networking links and news articles. Additionally there’s been a lot of work to bring our event advertising up to the required CPD standard – which brings me nicely on to the next area of progress, Learning and Development.

We’ve hosted numerous sessions this year and the feedback has been great. We’ve kept an ear to the ground on hot topics and arranged sessions based on current events, most recently the floods. It is because of how successfully these sessions have been run along with the implementation of feedback which we act upon that we were awarded CPD accreditation. Something I am extremely proud of.

Last but by no means least I feel we’ve made real progress on our sports and social events this year. It might surprise you to know I’m old enough to remember a time when the industry was a real community with lots going on (laughs) Sadly I think that dropped away in recent years but there’s been a real drive to reinvigorate the social side of the institute and I hope that momentum continues long after my time in office has ended.

Given the progress you’ve made what do you think Bolton CII needs to do to build on your successes?
We still need to find a way to reach out to younger members and understand their views on what they want from IIB both socially and educationally and find a way to meet those needs. The Young Professional Committee has now been running for 3 years now which is a great asset to the Institute and we need to find the best way to utilise this going forward.

Keeping with the theme of the next generation we need to encourage students to take an interest in the Insurance Industry and demonstrate that it can be an interesting and rewarding career. We attended a local college this year to trial the “Discover Risk” game that lets student look at and assess risks in popular scenarios to give them an understanding of our industry. In the next term I’d like to see us link up to a college to provide this kind of service on an ongoing basis.

Finally to build on all the success of our Learning and Development sessions I feel our members would benefit from us hosting a Master Class event. With prolonged time and additional resource we could host something that truly gets to the heart of a topic and hopefully inspires our members and remind them that the CII is the true mark of professionalism.

And finally, what advice would you give to your successor?
The biggest piece of advice I could give my incoming President would be not to try and compete with anyone including other institutes or what has gone before you, just be your own person and put your own stamp on the role, this is how new ideas will develop and how the Bolton Institute can remain an asset to its members.