Building knowledge and professional networks at CGI branch events

Let me introduce myself; my name is Julia Marques and I am the new Community Network Coordinator at the CGI. My job is to look after all our UK, Crown Dependencies and International branches and regions. 

We have an amazing network of branches run by volunteers across the world. These branches are a place for members, students and non-members interested in governance to meet, learn from and feel part of a network of governance professionals. Branches hold events each month, both online and in person. These can range from CPD to social networking and we have had events on topics from running effective meetings to what governance professionals and boards need to know about AI. 

In my first two months at CGI, there have been four different events already, with several more in the pipeline before the summer holidays begin. My very first event was the East Midlands branch’s online event on Governance and Responsible Investment. Coming from a not-for-profit background, this was something close to my heart. I was pleased to see a speaker from NEST and surprised to hear from Isla McCulloch about the Co-operative of co-operatives! This is something I didn’t know existed and I think is a great initiative – imagine investing to save your local pub or park? As a community manager, this really appeals to me – what better way to get the community together towards a common cause. 

The East Midlands branch stormed ahead with their second online event on how to maximise your LinkedIn profile. Having been a LinkedIn user for some years, I thought I probably had the basics covered, but James Wright certainly showed me a thing or two! I was especially intrigued by the Social Selling Index that is a lesser-known LinkedIn tool you can use to see how your profile is doing on the platform. You get a score out of 100 and you can improve it by sprucing up your profile, posting and generally interacting more on the site. All his tips were clear, easy to follow and (the best bit) free! He definitely encouraged people to post more; in his own words – if you’d be happy for it to appear on the front page of the Daily Mail, then don’t worry about posting it on LinkedIn! 

The Isle of Man was next, with their very topical event on climate change and the impact on Mann. Being a small island in the Irish Sea, this is an extremely relevant topic. The branch had an expert speaker in Adrian Cowin (Director of the Energy and Sustainability Centre) to show people all the latest models and possible effects the island is experiencing and could see more of in the future. Although I didn’t attend this event (not quite a day trip from London!), I have it on good authority from the chair that it went well and was enjoyed by all. 

Last but not least, I got to experience an in-person event right here in the CGIUKI office. The South East branch (which incorporates London) put on an event looking at what governance professionals and boards need to know about possibly the hottest topic around – AI. Chair Paul had put together an excellent panel of speakers with differing opinions about the use of AI in governance. Followed by drinks and nibbles (bought by yours truly and Theresa Minnie), speakers and attendees were able to mingle and debate the topic further. This was the first in-person branch event held in the office since before the pandemic, and, if I do say so myself, was a great success! Lots of people dropped hints that it would be nice to have more. 

It's been a really nice introduction to the branches and the breadth of topics they cover in their events – I am not from a governance background so I have been learning alongside everyone else!  

If any of these have whet your appetite then have a look at the events page, or even sign up to the branch newsletter through your MyCGI account to hear all about the latest events. Remember, anyone can attend an event, even if you are not a member of that Branch or of CGI – everyone is welcome. 

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