Supporting the Armed Forces through the covenant is a real win/win for any networking organisation.
First a brief story….
How did I find out about this - well the short answer (and perhaps the one you'd expect!) is from networking! A number of months ago at an Exeter Business Network event I met Captain Chris Gillespie 6th Rifles Regimental Operational Support Officer and also Jon Beake from Wessex Reserve Forces' & Cadets' Association. They liked the event and could see the benefits from attending in terms of promoting the work that they do in the community, the way in which businesses can help support the work that they do, offer insight, connections and opportunities for the serving military personnel that are looking to leave
At the event in October 2014 (which he attended in combats - great idea!) he met numerous decision makers from locally based businesses and could see that the event format - business seminar, relaxed yet structured lunch had the potential to build those stronger links.
But what next - Business Network SW was a membership organisation, there were fees to be paid to continue to benefit from the great business relationships that members had benefited from since 1993; how could this work?
It worked in the form of WRFCA and their Regional Employer Engagement Director who could see that the investment required would develop the opportunities to get businesses to see the value and benefit to them of becoming signatories to The Armed Forces Covenant.
Through the monthly events at which WRFCA spoke, delivered presentations and networked they began to engage and get business and organisations signed up - each of these demonstrating their concrete support for the armed forces community. The awards - Bronze and Silver - were presented at the events - photos taken and then shared across social media.
How have I demonstrated my support?
I have signed The Armed Forces Covenant and been given the Bronze ERS award……
Been extremely active on social media in sharing what WRFCA does and has done - just look at @seanhumby or search #BNSW (not basketball New South Wales!). Shared across the following platforms LinkedIn - over 3,000 connections; Twitter over 3,000 followers, LinkedIn group over 1,450 members; Facebook - nearly 900 connections; Google+ etc.
Flown the flag for Armed Forces Day - both physically and virtually
Welcomed reservists to the events - including the Commanding Officer 6 Rifles, second in command with 6th Battalion the Rifles, 6 Rifles Regimental Operational Support Officer, Training Officer 6 Rifles, Captain 7 Military Intelligence Battalion, Commanding Officer - 105 Bn REME, Training Major 105 Bn REME, Regimental Operational Support Office 105 Bn REME, Permanent Staff Admin Office 105 Bn REME, Head of Comms WRFCA.
Introduced business owners to Regional Employer Engagement Director and the following have signed the Covenant
• GWS Media
• Open Network Associates
• Devon Air Ambulance Trust
• Endorse HR
• Exminster Garage
• WNW Digital
• The HR Dept
• Exeter Golf and Country Club
In every event programme I have included the an article/advertisemant - see link below
Having the support and collaborative approach with WRFCA has I trust demonstrated that Business Network SW is committed to supporting our armed forces, their families, veterans and reservists.
My awareness of the issues and challenges that face these people has certainly been raised and I will continue to promote and support in as many ways as I can.