By Jane Mayer
It is hard to believe that WINGSForum 2014 is now more than three months past. On a daily basis I’m reminded of the valuable conversations that took place, the relationships created and sustained, and the lessons learned during our time together in Istanbul. There is truly a sense that the conference was not just a static event, but rather an ongoing discussion—one that illustrates WINGS as an evolving organization whose strength is derived from the collective power of its members.
WINGSForum is my first conference in the philanthropic sector and I have been amazed throughout the planning process by the camaraderie and team-oriented sentiment that permeates the WINGS global network from the ground up. From WINGS staff, board members and committee chairs who offered assistance at every turn to the creativity and dedication of workshop and plenary presenters, I felt inspired by the degree of collaboration during conference planning. It’s a testament to the success of the event and to strength of the network as a whole that so many participants took an active role in planning—from pre-conference workshops and plenary panels to concurrent sessions affinity tables and more, a number of participants took on additional roles, making for a more comprehensive and diverse experience.
What’s more is that I am not alone in feeling this way. In the past few weeks, WINGS has been hard at work with our partners at Alliance magazine and with Barry Knight, Executive Director of the Centre for Research and Innovation in Social Policy and Practice (CENTRIS) to produce a comprehensive conference evaluation. As the results came in, we were thrilled to learn that 97 per cent of participants had ranked WINGSForum 2014 as having “met or exceeded” their expectations. While WINGS certainly has room to grow in the development of future conferences and events, overall the feedback was extremely positive and WINGSForum 2014 was hailed a success. You can see the reports for yourself at wingsforum.org.
It’s been said that “we are only as strong as we are united”; as we look forward to the future of WINGS, we can certainly apply this line of reasoning as our network and our events continue to grow. As WINGS membership evolves, so too will the WINGS global network become stronger and more united as we learn, converse and develop alongside one another. I can only imagine what our next convening for WINGSForum 2017 in Mexico will bring. Until then, I am certain we will ensure that the power of the WINGS global network continues to grow!
Jane Mayer is programme coordinator for WINGS. Visit wingsforum.org for conference materials, including the final report and evaluation.