Friday, January 13, 2012

Mark Ventry welcomes you to the Africa 2012 Coaching Blog

Twenty-two credit union professionals from nine provinces are busily preparing for their Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) coaching assignments in Ghana, Malawi and Uganda. After training and briefing in Ottawa January 17-20, they head off to Africa, arriving on January 21.

Actually, 23 people will be part of this mission. 22 coaches and me.  Unlike those two teams of eleven, who will provide hands-on coaching and mentorship to credit union members and staff, I will be providing communications support for the entire group (before during and after their time in Africa). I’ll be travelling throughout Ghana during our two-week stay (unfortunately I will not be visiting Malawi and Uganda), throwing light on those I'm travelling with, highlighting the coaches and credit unions I meet, and describing my experiences in this very exciting, very exotic country.

The On Co-op team cut a celebratory cake during the official Canadian launch of the International Year of Co-operatives on Thursday, January 12, 2012.  Ontario celebrations were held in Guelph, with events taking place at City Hall and The Co-operators head office. Left to right: Audrey Aczel, Mark Ventry, Barry Hannah (Board Chair), Kerr Smith, Julia Buchan, Peter Cameron, Jennifer Ross.
This mission is especially important to me as it takes place during the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives. The theme of the International Year is, “co-operative enterprises build a better world” and the team will be seeing that – and literally helping to make that happen – while in Africa. Over the next few weeks, you’ll learn more about the mission, the credit unions we’re visiting, the coaching teams and me. I expect that the themes of building a better world and strengthening communities will flow through many of my blog postings and those of our coaches throughout our stay.

I will be contributing regularly to this blog -- hopefully daily if my schedule and technology permit.  I think you find it entertaining, informative and thought-provoking.  Whenever possible, I will link to the coaches’ blogs or at least summarize some of their comments in this space so you can learn about their experiences, too. This will be my first time in Africa (and my first time accompanying a coaching mission) so you’ll be learning about the country, its people and the good work that local credit unions do at exactly the same time I will.

In ‘real life’ I am the Co-op Community Manager for the Ontario Co-operative Association, based in Guelph, Ontario. On Co-op is one of the country’s provincial co-operative organizations, and has a mission to lead, cultivate and connect Ontario’s 1300 co-ops.  We are a small and energetic team, and work hard to support Ontario’s existing co-ops and help create a landscape that is favourable to the creation and expansion of co-operative business enterprises. My role at On Co-op includes marketing and communication, so taking part in this coaching assignment is a good fit. 

We all are embarking on an incredible adventure that starts in just a few days.  I’m glad you’re coming along, and I look forward to spending time with you over the next few weeks!

Talk to you soon.


No comments:

Post a Comment