Only weeks before Covid-19 drastically disrupted our Soroptimist way of life, the SIE Board had agreed on a holistic training weekend in Lyon, France with all Unions united to work towards a futureproof Soroptimist Organisation.


The starting point of this new training format was from witnessing year over year the increase of decreasing membership, this fact clearly indicated the urgent need to develop differently our organisation, to ensure our future relevance and existence.


The question “how to attract new members?” clearly has no adequate or satisfying answer, my conclusion is that we need to ask the right question, which is, “how to make our organisation more attractive?” This not only to benefit new members but also for our actual members who want to recognize themselves as Soroptimists in 2020 and beyond. We need to be clear about what we stand for through our own Soroptimist Development Goals (SDG), to start with and renew the dynamics of the organisation based on a strong community connection.


We were very ambitious about this inspirational gathering by inviting high-level keynote speakers, organised 4 panels with Q&A, and workshops for each of our working platforms: Organisation/Communication/Programme&Advocacy/Extension and Education (President’s theme).


Forced to cancel the original format, we created a hybrid virtual and face-to-face holistic day. With participants coming together where possible, and the four virtual panel discussions it will guarantee interaction and Q&A with panelists.



The ultimate goal was a wake-up call within Soroptimists and our organisation, that the world has changed, and we need to change with it. Little did we know that Corona-effects would further enhance this to an actual need to inspire as to bounce back better united in “New Normal” Soroptimist life.


By Carolien Demey

SIE President Elect 2019-2021


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