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ICCA Presidential Message - October 2018

Dear ICCA Members,

It is with mixed emotions that I write this message to you as this will be the last formal communication that I send in my capacity as the ICCA President.  My four year term of office will be concluded at the ICCA General Assembly in Dubai.  In accordance with the ICCA Articles of Association, I will remain on the board for as long as the newly elected ICCA President serves their term. 

Being a volunteer leader is not something you can every really prepare yourself for! What I have learnt is that the main ingredient necessary to serve as a volunteer leader is that one serves with integrity and with the purpose of ensuring that when you step down you would have left the association moving in the right direction. To know in your heart that you contributed to the best of your ability in as far as your time, experience and involvement allowed.

I attended my son’s school sport and cultural prize giving this morning and we sang the South African national anthem and school song.  I wanted to share the words of the school song with you as the importance and impact stick in my mind – it made me think, is this perhaps the ICCA song too?

Reddam House Umhlanga School Song

We are free to be ourselves and respect each other equally
Innovation nurtured all the way
We share in a common dream to be whoever we want to be

Independent pride in who we are

Enriching each other’s lives, inspiring each other’s minds
We shall give back, we shall give back

Unique in who we are, we challenge each other constantly
Succeeding in our lives because we care
Positive we are, we initiate what we can be
Standing proud this is the Reddam way

Enriching each other’s lives, inspiring each other’s minds
We shall give back, we shall give back

With the words “give back, give back” echoing in my mind, I wonder what the future of associations and special interest groups will look like with the fast paced life we find ourselves in. Having done my own Google research, I came across the following study on where they summarise what are the key element of any group’s existence.

"Interest groups play a major role in shaping public policies that impact business practices.

Throughout history, humans have had a strong tradition of voluntarily banding together for enforcing their rights, supporting a cause, or even for economic gain. This act of solidarity to achieve a shared goal has occurred in all types of political systems.

Navigating the political terrain to influence public policy can be almost impossible alone. Many people join with likeminded individuals in interest groups. Interest group is a group of individuals that share a common interest in a specific subject and work jointly to influence public policy in its favour. Interest groups are also called pressure groups because they exert pressure on policy makers to influence public policies."

Whilst achieving the collective or ultimate outcome does potentially have a financial benefit to an individual, company or community, the time, effort and contribution made by each volunteer of an association or special interest group, I feel, is not immediately rewarded by personal advancement. But don’t let this deter you, with continued commitment, sharing of knowledge and strength in numbers, what can seem impossible can be achieved.  

With all of us juggling our day to day responsibilities, both at home and in business, volunteering the little free time we have can seem daunting.

My parting message would therefore be to encourage one and all to find the time, round up the troops and, as I have done, put your heart and soul into achieving all of ICCA’s goals as an association. Diverse approaches, brainstorming and sharing of experiences is what will benefit the collective and, perhaps later on, you!

Yours in ICCA,

Nina Freysen-Pretorius