What a year – WHAT a year. It was only when I spent some real time putting together the slides for our AGM that I realised quite how astonishing a year we’ve had.
The fun, the laughter, the tears……the teamwork, the strength of spirit, the determination, the joy and the hopes for our future.
I think everyone I know, knows of my passion for Ladies Circle – and maybe even people I don’t know. Do people understand it though – why – why do I love it, what makes me come back year after year to support the Members, the Council, the Charities?
People wear their Ladies Circle pins for different reasons…. I realise that…. but here is why I wear my pin.
It’s Meaningful & Fun
We have fun but underpinning everything we do is our motto. “Friendship & Service”. Simple words, but serious intentions. We are a not for profit organisation which means the money we raise we plough back into charitable projects proposed to us by Hong Kong based charities. Not only that but it enables us the chance to help provide others with experiences they would never have had otherwise.
We raise money doing such a range of fun things with every dollar counting to support charitable projects. We have held charity Comedy and Quiz Nights, Charity Auctions, Pink Drinks, Coffee Mornings, Craft Sessions, Yoga evenings, Lucky Prize Draws and received donations.
It broadens your horizon
For those of us based in Hong Kong we are used to extensive travel. Ladies Circle enables an added layer of possibility – something I am new to but would like to do more of.
What a pleasure and an honour to represent Ladies Circle Hong Kong when we joined Ladies Circle Singapore as they chartered their brand-new Circle. The birth of a new Circle is extremely special – and felt even more so in the year we turned 50! How wonderful it was to meet like-minded ladies from around the world and to maintain a growing network of friends to call upon.
It provides development opportunities second to none
The development I have had through Ladies Circle is huge, immense! Like no other corporate training course I could ever hope to go on. It’s been possible because the environment at Ladies Circle is supportive and so positive. We have the ability to shape our own future one step at a time, to try things new – to share our experience with others.
You feel connected
If our fabulous 50th Anniversary celebrations shows me one thing, it is the importance of history and how it shapes how we are today as we look to the future.
It was magical to be joined by Jeanne Allingham, our founding Chairlady, and enjoy an interesting historical talk by Jason Wordie on the history of Hong Kong since the ‘60’s. A truly unique and special event surrounded by so many of our current and former members, our families and friends.
You feel supported
Our May AGM was extraordinary this year. As I handed over to our new President, Patty, the surge in well wishes for both of us was very heart-warming (and much appreciated).
Our new Ladies Circle year begins with much hope for our future, a galvanisation of our motto and a plan to do even more together.
I thank all our members, our friends and family. Here’s to our next 50 years….
Immediate Past President 2016/17;
Immediate Past President 2018/19
Where to begin? 2017 has been such an amazing year for Ladies Circle Hong Kong and the charities we support!
Are you ready…….??
Our Community Ladies have organised over 10 visits this year to some of the charities we support. We've been able to take friends, partners and children to see first-hand the good work that is being done. A particular stand out was the Hong Kong School for the Deaf, where many of our members were able to take their own young children to enjoy their graduation ceremony. Definitely a perk, and an education, when we can involve our own young ones!!
The first few months of the year we enjoyed a huge range of socials, from hiking through Tai Tam Country Park, to starting our Craft Circle with Greeting Card designs and Chinese Tassel making, Afternoon Tea at The Upper House, Karaoke, morning tea, Cherry Blossom Bubbles and of course our hugely popular Charity Quiz Night raising money for Small Group Homes….and this was all before our May AGM !!
At our AGM in May we welcomed a new council. Some ladies who had become members in just the past year. So exciting to see this level of enthusiasm and commitment – and always good to get some fresh blood too!!! ;-) We bid farewell to a couple of our long standing Council team with fond memories and thanks for their dedication.
After the summer break, the ladies came back with all the get-up and go you can imagine. [Where do they get their energy from??!!!].
Our first monthly dinner was like the first day back at school. Everyone excited to see friends and catch up. Very heartening. October we had outdoor yoga on the harbour front and in November we supported the Round Table with their 31st annual 24 hour Pedal Kart race.
We lost count of how many cones were carried around but there were some very dirty hands afterwards I can tell you. Fabulous job ladies!!! And a shout out to Karla and Mary our Community ladies for coordinating again and all our members who volunteered. Team work at its best!
Our members really are everything at Ladies Circle. In November we were out in force again as one of our members - Caroline - hosted 'Pink Drinks' at her house. A fabulous fundraising evening in support of a local HK breast cancer charity and the Round Table boys who participated in Movember.
We may be a “Ladies Only” membership but we do value the support we get from our other halves - and Caroline's husband was definitely the hostess with the mostess that night. He also “MC’d” our annual pub quiz back in April – oops, forgot to mention that!! Yeah, back in April we had our annual pub quiz to fundraise for our main charity Small Group Homes. Another fab night which was once again held at The Globe, we ladies are always humbled by the support we get from local businesses. We heart HK!!
There's no 'I' in 'team' and there's no end to a circle.
Autumn also saw the annual Box of Hope appeal and our ladies just surpassed themselves by packing a whopping 439 boxes. Beating last year's total by 95. Massive thanks to our President Fiona and all the members [and her neighbours] who spent so many days at her house wrapping boxes in preparation for the big night. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Well thanks to our members we were prepared and it was night of organised packing and music and cheers at the final count. Good times…..
So now we are in December and this month began with our Christmas Dinner. Yes it was our time to let our hair down but life at Ladies Circle HK is all about our charities. A Toy Drive and making up Hampers for Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong. A little bit every now and then adds up to being a lot at the end of the day. Our last dinner of the year and we had the pleasure of inaugurating FOUR new members. Loretta, Rebecca, Smriti and Sally. We are so excited to have these ladies join us and definitely an end of year high for us.
We have had a few lows with several members moving overseas – Laura, Telina, Danielle, Lisa, Jan and Angela - leaving Hong Kong. But, as with all our Alumni the HK door never closes and we can't wait to see them when they're next in town - perfect excuse for a big old fundraising party right??! And speaking of parties and Alumni – oh are we in for a treat next year!!
How can 2018 top all of this you ask??
Ladies Circle HK turns 50 in 2018!!
But before that, we have already lined up some amazing guest speakers for our monthly dinners, a site visit to Small Group Homes, Craft Circle is an official fixture in our calendar and on February 5th we have our first Book Club meeting. Are you tired just thinking about the first 8 weeks of 2018? We're not…..because right around the corner will be our 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner on March 8th (International Women’s Day!)
We are all excited about the week of festivities being planned. In addition to the big gala dinner and special guests and Alumni we will be hosting, there are a range of activities from local Dim Sum to walking tours around the sights of HK.
Our Social Coordinators are already on the case for the Annual Pub Quiz and Comedy Night – oops – did we forget to mention something again??!!! Our inaugural Comedy night was hosted by Jami Gong and fabulous comedians from TakeOut Comedy who donated their time to make us chuckle for the charities we support. Yep. We’ll be doing it again in 2018. So much fun!!
So to the council, all members, our supporters and mostly the charities. Let’s put our feet up while we can over the holiday season.
2018 promises to be another fun filled and action packed year and we look forward to celebrating and working with old friends and new!!
Happy holidays and a prosperous New Year to all!!
Yours in Friendship & Service
Ladies Circle HK
Our enthusiastic Treasurer, Tasha Mahabir, shares her reasons for loving HK Ladies Circle
When I moved to Hong Kong 5 years ago one of my key priorities was to find a charity to support. Without too much looking there wasn't any one cause that jumped out at me. Back in the UK I supported a couple of health related ones and a homeless charity. But it was back in June 2016 a very dear friend invited me along to the Hong Kong Ladies Circle monthly dinner.
I don't think I'd ever been in a room with so many women!!!! But the food was good and the wine - well you know wine!!!
It was a couple of months later - at the October dinner where I was asked if I'd like to join and I said yes! How could you resist a bunch of awful women (...awfully nice women...) who remembered your name, were interested in you and were quite good fun? But that wasn't why I said yes. I don't like good company, food and wine that much!!!
It was the charity. Or rather the charities. [Get ready for the science bit]. I'd never supported a kids charity. Nothing against the little people, but my thing was homelessness and health. And here was a bunch of pretty ladies giving their time and money to make the lives of so many of Hong Kong's disadvantaged children have a more loving….fulfilled….stable…. More of a life. They say 'your school years are your best' - and I genuinely loved going to school - can you see the smile on my face as I write this ;-)…. But ‘they’ say this because the only thing kids should be worrying about is their homework…..
Don't get me wrong - I've never been that oblivious - but just, y'know…..
I tried to empathise and I noticed a change in me. I started thinking about the future. The future isn't me or you. The future is the kids. The generations that we as society are all responsible for. Sure, you may not have given them life, but as a responsible member of the human race it is up to all of us cherish and nurture and positively influence the next generation and lend a helping hand and give a hug or cheesy smile to the next generation.
The main charity we support is Small Group Homes. Oh my goodness. One of the young ladies in their care did a presentation at our September dinner. Only 14 years old and her life has done a 180. When she started her presentation she seemed timid, maybe a little shy. But then her self-confidence exploded and wasn't she just a little pocket rocket! Seeing how SGH had impacted on this one kid was so empowering to see. With their guidance and nurturing the young lady is living a life that she wouldn't have had otherwise.
We give up our time and money and this is the good that comes from it. Sure we can self-congratulate and say we had a part to play, but personally I feel it's a moral obligation to help others. I don't project this onto anyone else, but through Ladies Circle I have been able to develop and do.
So I've now been a member for a year. Training wheels off - I'm the Treasurer! Our November dinner [my one year anniversary] was also our Box of Hope Packing Night. Oh my goodness. I told our President I would have to leave early as I had an early start the next day. Did I leave early? Pfft! Around me were thirty-five women wrapping boxes, packing boxes, labelling boxes, boxes, boxes, boxes all around me!! But that's not really what I saw.
What I saw was thirty-five hearts. That evening wasn't about time or money. It was about envisioning the smile on a kid when they received their box.
That night when I got home I commented on our council group chat - 'if ever I needed validation for joining Ladies Circle, tonight was it'……
When I moved to Hong Kong, I didn't find a charity to support. I discovered a cause I didn't know meant that much to me.
So I wear my Ladies Circle pin with pride. Knowing every day there is a kid in Hong Kong whose life is just that little bit happier.
Hong Kong Ladies Circle Treasurer 2017-18
We were a vision in pink at The Shelley's home on Thursday as we gathered together to raise money for the Hk Breast Cancer Foundation and also, in support of Round Table International who are raising funds for Movember !
Each year becomes a little more pink than the last as we delved into our dressing up boxes and even went so far as an outing to the fantastic Pottinger Street to stock up on pink feather boa's and moustaches (quite an unusual combination.)
Not only did our ladies generously donate a door fee on arrival, but they took place in a lucky prize draw - with each donor being able to choose which pink moustache they got to wear.
The result? We raised a fabulous HK$6,000 to be split between the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation and the Round Table International Movember team.
There surely is no end to the fun at the Hong Kong Ladies Circle?!!