Dear Members,

When you receive this month’s Newsletter, we will be half-way through the voting period for this year’s email (off-line) Annual General Meeting (AGM) which concludes on 5 July. We have already selected who the recipients of the Excellence in Service Awards will be and the names of these members will be published in the August Newsletter.

Looking back over the past three + years, I see a time that threw challenges not only at me, as the BIWC President, but at the entire Executive Committee (EC). In our first year, we had the painful task of closing the office we had in Marienstraße, our “home” for over 15 years. The decision to give up the office was not an easy one. This was a humongous task, an extremely time-consuming project, with all EC members and helpers joining together to make this project go as smoothly as possible.

Thereafter, normal EC and BIWC activities kicked in and I was able to relax and enjoy the many events offered by the Special Interest Group (SIG) and Neighbourhood Group (NG) Coordinators. With the support of our then Sponsorship Coordinator, Sarah Psalti-Helbig, we started the planning of a spring bazaar which was held in the spring of 2019. This was the first time in many years that the BIWC had held a charity bazaar. The bazaar was successful and we were happy to have collected approx. €2,500 which was donated to the charity PAPATYA.

After the AGM in 2019, my second year started with a new project – a new, modern BIWC website. This task was taken on by our Web Team and a new member, Megan Thudium, who volunteered to design and create this website. After many months of creating the new website, we launched it in March 2020. Towards the end of this project and prior to its launch, the corona pandemic broke out.

The pandemic brought our Club activities to a complete standstill. In mid-March 2020, the Berlin Senate announced Berlin’s first lockdown, which saw many restrictions being put in place that made living a “normal” life extremely difficult, in our personal lives as well as in our Club life. For me as the President, it was an extremely frustrating time, not being able to get out and meet you and attend activities. We saw many ups and downs during this time.

Then everyone started talking about “Zoom” and “Zooming”. We had Zoom meetings to help us stay connected not only with our Club friends, but with family too. A boom of virtual events started to take place after the summer months and many clubs were offering their membership digital events. I must thank those SIG & NG Coordinators who started offering their activities digitally to the BIWC membership. There is much more work involved in organising a digital event and I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all of you!

During the lockdown, our Constitution Committee continued to work through their remit as suggested by the EC to review certain aspects of our Constitution. This was carried out successfully, and you, the membership, approved these changes in May 2021. I thank the entire Constitution Committee for all their hard work.

What will I do with my time now after the EC? Hopefully, the hotels will reopen their restaurants soon and offer their Business Lunches again, so I can start organising get togethers for you at some of our first-class hotels in Berlin. I look forward to greeting you then.

As I wish you all farewell in my role as President, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to my fellow EC members for their loyal service and support over the past few years. Many of them are remaining on the EC and will continue to give their support to the incoming President and Vice President.

Lastly, I wish the incoming and remaining EC members a successful year. Hopefully we can look forward to a fun-filled 30th Anniversary in 2022.

With warm regards,

Carol Marquardt