Our impact: Regional volunteers on building partnerships and sharing knowledge

26th September 2023

IEMA’s regional volunteers talk about making a difference worldwide as they build partnerships and share knowledge in a bid to create a sustainable economy

Think global, act local – that’s the philosophy of IEMA’s regional volunteers, who are crucial in connecting members so that they can share their experience and knowledge on sustainability.

The number of volunteers has doubled to 251 over the past three years, with regional steering groups now in Central Europe, India, Trinidad and Tobago, West Africa, New Zealand, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Republic of Ireland, along with 17 groups in the UK.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of IEMA’s local presence, helping to devise solutions to the most pressing environmental and sustainability-related challenges in their areas.

Volunteer voices

Rosemary Horry FIEMA CEnv, chair of IEMA’s Midlands network group, says: “We are all part of the solution, and being a volunteer for IEMA means that I not only get to promote sustainability through my work, but I also get to help others to make more of an impact within their roles, by sharing knowledge and hopefully inspiring the future sustainability leaders.”

IEMA members in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands can also now share their expertise through a new Central Europe steering group. Co-chair Damien Plant FIEMA CEnv says: “While it’s very early in the life of the Central Europe network, I have already learned how much talent and goodwill there is out there to move things forward.

“We have a great team stepping up to try to bring more coherence to our countries’ membership, to grow the membership for individual and collective benefit through networking and to provide support to each other in the great fight.”

Local events

Working in teams, IEMA volunteers are also responsible for devising, creating and hosting events that are relevant to their local areas, including careers events, seminars and networking sessions. More than 50 of these events have already taken place this year, with over 2,500 bookings made by IEMA members.

“I am a firm believer in creating the right environment for constructive debate and IEMA’s regional steering groups present the opportunity to do this by creating events that develop our shared understanding of the issues we are facing and provide the opportunity to discuss how we can respond to them,” explains Morag Robertson PIEMA, chair of IEMA’s Yorkshire and Humberside steering group. “I’ve met some fascinating people as part of my volunteering, learned about areas that I wouldn’t normally come across in my working life, and feel like I am playing a part in creating a stronger profession as a result.”

New perspectives

Being an IEMA volunteer can help members in their career by equipping them with new skills, experiences and CPD opportunities. However, one of the greatest benefits is networking with people and organisations outside your regular area, gaining new perspectives on the solutions needed to tackle the climate and environmental crises.

Edward Walker MIEMA CEnv, chair of the North East steering group, says: “It is enjoyable volunteering with people from totally different backgrounds – learning how they overcome challenges specific to their own operating area is fascinating, and there are frequently takeaways which I can use in my day job.”

Victoria Chater-Lea PIEMA, chair of IEMA’s London and South East regional network, adds: “I really enjoy being chair as I get to meet many different environmental and sustainability professionals, each doing exciting work.

“Our aim is to give IEMA members worthwhile events that they can gain something from, whether that is learning about a particular subject, seeing how sustainability has been implemented elsewhere, or networking. I have an open-door policy, and am always looking for ideas and event hosts. If you have an idea, please get in touch!”

If you would like to become a volunteer or learn more about IEMA’s regional network groups, visit www.iema.net/knowledge/regional-networks


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