World Café Membership Engagement Update

31 Jul 2013 14:07 | Anonymous

Derwyn Cafferkey, who is leading the Membership Engagement group, has written an update of where the group is and what its next steps are. Enjoy discovering what this dynamic group is working on.

The Membership Engagement group includes the previous two topics of Talent Bank and Mentoring and logically, we have split into two small subgroups to better advance progress.

Talent Bank / Talent Resources

We have decided to focus on an internal approach versus an external one, because we felt that Linkedin did a great job externally and we did not want to duplicate it. Our next steps include:

  • using the existing website and current directory template, we will ask members to complete their own directory page and enter the areas in which they have passion and expertise.
  • we are investigating the technical feasibility of using a search engine on the site to help OWIT members to find the right contact.
  • complete the technical evaluation in August and present to the executive committee for their approval in September to launch to OWIT membership at the beginning of October.


  • using the Talent Resources profiles we are focusing on setting up a mentoring initiative in OWIT, whereby mentors can indicate the areas in which they have passion and expertise and mentors can contact them directly to set up a mentoring relationship.
  • we have also established a support structure that will help explain the rationale and benefits to members and give some skill-building materials to help them to make the most of the mentoring experience. These comprise: helpful hints for mentors and mentees, planning your first meeting, andlistening and questioning techniques.
  • do a kick off session with members who have volunteered to become mentors to better prepare them for mentoring - this would take the form of a walk-through of the material and some time to practice and ask questions.
  • align this with the Talent Resources work and plan to present together to the executive committee for their approval in September to launch OWIT membership in October.

Buddying of new members

  • a key challenge is to convert first-time attendees into OWIT members. Feedback has shown that it can be intimidating to come into a meeting for the first time, and the connections that people make and the impression of feeling welcomed into the organization have an impact on whether people decide to become members.
  • Approach:Formalize the welcoming role of OWIT members for them to become “buddies” to people coming to talks or networking events for the first time and assign a number of people per meeting to identify new participants with the following responsibility to:
  • keep an eye on new participants, introduce them to people at the event and make sure they are not “stranded” with no one to talk to (no need to stay by their side all evening, just keep an eye out for them).
  • provide them with info on OWIT and answer any questions (not hard sell!)
  • follow up from the meeting with an email to see what their experience was and answer any other questions.
  • ensure that they are inscribed on mailing lists for upcoming events and follow up ahead of the next meeting to see if they are attending.
  • at the following meeting offer the same support as the first meeting.


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