Dear IBN members and friends,
What a tumultuous year 2020 has been. And yet amongst all the sadness, suffering and anxiety most of us have experienced to some degree, there have been many opportunities to learn new skills, new ways of living and working, develop new friendships and business relationships and above all, reflect on what we truly value, both individually and collectively.
Like many other organisations, the IBN has embraced the virtual world this year. The pandemic prevented us from hosting most of the usual in-person events we enjoy, so we transitioned online. A positive benefit of this was that members from all over the Irish Business Network in Switzerland and abroad were able to come together without time-consuming travel and hence made many new connections.
As we reflect back on the year we can be proud of how the IBN continues to grow and the diversity of activities we have been able to host to support our members in a challenging time. In May we launched a business directory where members can showcase and find services and we were delighted to see more than 200 members registering for events.
We started the year with a fun and enlightening workshop in Geneva on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In July, we hosted our first on-line event, an exciting and innovative virtual ‘Escape Room’ focused on inclusive behaviours. We then finished the year in style with three fantastic events spanning across Switzerland; a ‘Guided Walk of Joyce’s Zurich’ in October, the launch of the IBN’s Geneva Chapter with a conversation with UN Ambassador Michael Gaffey in November and a ‘Tidy to Thrive’ virtual event with Nadja Cereghetti last week, organised by the IBN’s Basel Chapter leads.
We are already planning our calendar for 2021 and will focus on virtual events for the foreseeable future. We will kick off in January with an exciting virtual event ‘Business Lessons from the Sports World’, organised by the former Irish professional hockey player and our Suisse Romande Chapter co-lead Nikki Symmons. Your invitation will be sent shortly.
We would also like to highlight some other great initiatives. These include; ‘To Be Irish | At Christmas’ a seasonal initiative from the Government of Ireland; Machnamh 100, the President of Ireland’s Centenary Reflections series; the launch of a new 2020-2025 Diaspora strategy from the Government of Ireland and the recommencement of The GLAS Hour by the Geneva Irish Literary Aid Society.
Finally, this network is all about our members. We always look forward to both meeting current members and welcoming new ones so please pass on event and website details – signing up for membership is free.
As this unprecedented year comes to a close, on behalf of the entire IBN Switzerland Committee we would like to take the opportunity to wish all of our members and friends a very happy holiday season and good health for the year ahead.
Le gach dea ghuí i gcóir na Nollag agus na hAth bhliana!
Co-Presidents, Irish Business Network Switzerland