Eight years as Chair – or is it nine?
After almost a decade in office, it’s time for me to step down.
It’s been a real pleasure to work with the Forum and to meet so many wonderful people. I’ve enjoyed all the screenings of members’ work, the panel discussions, the Q&As, the networking, the training, the bootcamps, the Foot Ups and Foot in the Doors. As Chair, lots of invitations came my way. Thank you Roger Shannon for all the Departure Lounges!
Two of the most outstanding events were the premiere of Debbie Isitt’s Nativity (the first one!), which took place in Coventry with a red carpet, complete with living camels outside Coventry Cathedral and the premiere of Pip Piper’s first feature film, The Insatiable Moon, with a cast who flew into Birmingham from New Zealand.
Board members have changed over the years and I still have fond thoughts of the days with Natasha Carlish, Sunandan (and Yugesh) Walia, Tom Norton, Simon Bovey, Debbie Aston and Helga Henry. It was Debbie who gave us the blueprint for the Marketplace after she organised the first two at the Stoke Your Fires Festival in 2013 and 2014 and it was Helga, who helped rescue the Forum when it was about to crash out by convincing us we needed to change our membership model.
And these last five years, it was a complete joy to work alongside Pip Piper as we helped move the Forum from surviving to thriving.
Our new CEO, Alison Grade, brings a tremendous energy to the Forum and a grand vision for where it can now go. New board members, Daniel Alexander and Caroline Officer, are joining Lee Kemp, who will become the new chair on 1 January, and Carl Timms, Sima Gonsai, Mark Pressdee and Drew Roper. Pip and I both have felt that we are leaving the Forum in good shape and in good hands at what is becoming a very exciting time as it is poised on real growth and dynamism.
Besides being Chair, I have also looked after admin and finance for the past five years. As of 1 December, Alison will take over the admin role as an interim measure, which means if you write to firstname.lastname@example.org, you will reach Alison directly. (If anyone wishes to contact me personally, my email is email@example.com)
With best wishes to all for the festive season and success in your careers,