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Donna Smith: Highland Business Women's 2022 review

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Highland Business Women Awards finalists.
Highland Business Women Awards finalists.

So 2022 is almost at a close. It has felt like an incredibly fast and busy year for all where we ventured back to normal but changed times and at HBW, we have been delighted to get back to face to face networking events and particularly with the return of our annual awards in person.

The awards are not only a great opportunity to recognise our fabulous business ladies, but are also a major contributor to our fundraising efforts for our charity of the year, more on that later.

We’ve enjoyed a range of events this year which started with a couple of virtual events until March when we were able to celebrate International Women’s Day with a lovely gathering for dinner.

Since then, we’ve learned how to boost our confidence, talked at 100 miles an hour at a speed networking lunch, learnt all about volunteering, held a very lively joint dinner with Moray Business Women, held our awards and by the time you read this, had what I imagine will be a hilarious Christmas party night making cocktails!

Like other organisations, we are not seeing quite the same numbers at events as before lockdown, and we did ask our members for feedback around this, but as confidence has grown, more people are venturing back out and we are looking forward already to a packed new year with lots of event ideas already on the list.

We are also delighted to be ending the year being joined by our newest board member, Natalie Bruce who is a Senior Solicitor at Harper Macleod and will be focussing on looking after our newsletters and social media, etc.

Alongside this, we are excited to have Beth Jordan taking on the new role of membership engagement ambassador. Beth will be working with members to gather information so that we can spotlight all their fabulous stories throughout the year so don’t be surprised if she approaches you about this. I know that they will both make a great impact in their new roles.

Charity selection

And as we look ahead to 2023, we are preparing to select our new charity of the year at our very first event in January.

We are very proud of our previous fundraising achievements and our aim is to continue to work closely with our chosen charity, raising awareness of its cause and promoting any ongoing projects or campaigns. In 2018, we raised £4000 for the Elsie Normington Foundation Haven Project.

In 2019, we raised £5300 for The Oxygen Works.

In 2020, we raised £4500 for Fèis Rois.

Due to the impact the pandemic had on our events in 2021, the members voted to retain Mikeysline as our charity of the year for 2022 and the amount we raised for them will be announced at the event in January where our new charity will also be voted on and selected by members.

If you want to join us for this event, it will be on Wednesday, January18, at the Highland Rugby Club and tickets are on sale now.

If you are involved with a charity that you would like to see nominated for this, please make sure you visit our website for all the details and the application form.

Applications close on December 23 and we would really encourage as many to submit an application as possible.

Looking ahead to 2023

Once our new charity is selected, we will be resuming our programme of monthly events and as mentioned earlier, already have a few ideas up our sleeve, but we are always looking for more suggestions and would urge any of our members who have a suggestion to get in touch and let us know.

We are intending to continue running some online events also as we know this not only allows us to engage with members who don’t live within easy travelling distance of the face to face events, but also those who are still a little wary of attending in person, or whose work and travel habits have changed.

The whole HBW board would like to wish all of our members, supporters and friends a very happy festive season and a very prosperous new year when it comes.

Slàinte Mhaith!

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