Webinar makes case for better communications with FIDIC members

26 Jan 2021

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Better connections with member associations and their member firms was high on the agenda for discussion at the first online FIDIC event of 2021 - a webinar entitled “Bridging the Gaps - Improving communications with FIDIC member associations”, writes FIDIC communications advisor Andy Walker.

Kicking off the new FIDIC Committee Webinar Series, the event on 26 January 2021 was attended by 288 people and moderated by Enni Soetanto, chair of FIDIC’s membership committee. The speakers included FIDIC board member Gavin English, Stephane Giraud, chair of the FIDIC capacity building committee and Chris Campbell, chair of FIDIC’s Directors and Secretaries Advisory Council. They were joined on the panel by FIDIC president Bill Howard and chief executive Dr Nelson Ogunshakin.

The webinar was organised by the FIDIC Membership Committee to provide an opportunity for member associations (MAs) to discuss how FIDIC can improve the effectiveness of its communications and engagement with members to ensure that MAs feel better connected to FIDIC and also that FIDIC is able to get its message across to MAs’ member firms thereby increasing the effectiveness and visibility of FIDIC in the global industry.

Kicking off the event, logging on from Indonesia, Enni Soetanto, chair of FIDIC’s membership committee, said that she was looking forward to hearing feedback from attendees on how FIDIC communicates and the effectiveness of the organisation’s engagement with member associations and their member firms.

First speaker, FIDIC board member Gavin English, highlighted some of the areas where FIDIC’s advocacy and networks were benefiting member associations and made the point that the organisation had increased its communications activity over the past year. “FIDIC committees are the lifeblood of our organisation and last year’s revamping of all our FIDIC committees is already having a positive effect and this series of webinars is an indication of that,” said English. He also highlighted the forthcoming FIDIC State of the World report series to be launched over the coming months as a key landmark that would promote FIDIC and its position on industry issues to a wider global audience.

Chris Campbell, chair of FIDIC’s Directors and Secretaries Advisory Council, spoke about the importance of member associations having a well equipped and passionate senior management team. “You are effectively running a company, even though it is an organisation,” he said, making the point that it was important to take a business-focused approach. Campbell said that it was FIDIC’s attention to organise more webinars to take a “deep dive” into issues of relevance to its members to both educate and inform and he looked forward to seeing more involvement from associations around the world. He said that the Directors and Secretaries Advisory Council was also looking to provide training initiatives to help with staff and resource challenges in member associations. Campbell concluded by quoting the title of a Janet Jackson song which he said was a very good maxim for every FIDIC member association to be asking itself on behalf of its members - “What have you done for me lately?”

Stephane Giraud, chair of the FIDIC capacity building committee, highlighted the work being done to increase the capacity of the industry via FIDIC programmes like FIDIC Credentialing, the committees, the Future Leaders initiative and FIDIC’s comprehensive training events. This was a key role of FIDIC, he said, and to make it easier for industry professionals to see what was available FIDIC would be developing a ‘FIDIC Training Tree’ which he hoped would assist members and their member firms. He also appealed for people to “become part of the FIDIC galaxy” by getting involved with the work of member associations and also FIDIC on a global basis.

The discussion covered a wide range of issues including the importance of engaging with other construction professionals as well as engineers, how FIDIC’s new International Financial Institutions Committee will be assisting member associations, the challenge of engaging and reaching out to corporate member firms as well as individual consulting engineers and the role of FIDIC’s board, committees and regional groups in getting the message across. The point was made that online communication, especially webinars like this one, appeared to be an excellent tool for that. And, the webinar clearly did its job as, in a poll conducted at the event, 96% of attendees said that it had improved their understanding of FIDIC benefits and activities.

Closing the webinar, FIDIC chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said that it was crucial for FIDIC and its member associations not to rest on their laurels and to constantly ask what they can do to assist their members. “As Chris Campbell put it, let’s all ask ourselves on behalf of our members: ‘What have you done for me lately?’ That’s how we improve and stay ahead and in touch,” he said.

The next FIDIC webinar is "Has health infrastructure taught construction a lesson?" which takes place on Tuesday 2 February 2021 at 12 noon CET. Please register your place as soon as possible as another large turnout is expected for this event.

Click here to book your place at the "Has health infrastructure taught construction a lesson?" webinar.

Click on the video below to view the webinar recording of “Bridging the Gaps - Improving communications with FIDIC member associations”.

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