Some of FIDI’s most valuable work depends on the generosity and expertise of its team of dedicated volunteers. Dominic Weaver finds out why those who give their time to the FIDI Academy get so much out of the experience
Sara Lyrum Kronkjaer: ‘Training adds value for everyone involved’
FIDI Academy stalwart Sara Lyrum Kronkjaer is Lead Trainer for the MiM programme and the new DSP seminar. Having been ‘wowed’ by her experience as a student more than 20 years ago – under trainers Michael Scott, Ernst Jörg and Derek Duffy – Lyrum Kronkjaer became a champion of the Academy. She sees the training role as part of her ongoing industry learning.
‘I like to share my experiences, and to challenge our students to think differently and find solutions,’ she says.
Being a trainer involves work before, during and after the seminars. ‘But it is worth it,’ says Lyrum. ‘The impact on our network really adds value for everyone at the seminars, including trainers. I have great friends from my first FIDI training and still do business with some of them today. If this isn’t a return on investment, what is?
‘Many FIDI Academy students will be the future leaders of our industry.’
Favourite moment from a FIDI course: ‘I love to see the development of the students during the seminar. By the end of the week friendships have been built, they are a team, and strong bonds have been formed. When the students provide feedback on how they have gone on to implement their learnings in their companies, and the value this has created, this is a real win, too.’
Simone Percy: ‘This is one of the most rewarding tasks I have ever performed’
Simone Percy became a trainer at the FIDI Conference in Lisbon, after taking the MiM course in 2006. ‘I had such a brilliant experience, I told the then Academy Manager that I’d love to pay it back,’ she says. ‘A few years later, I was talking to Jesse [van Sas] and the subject came up again. He recommended me to Chantal [Fera, Academy Manager], and I was interviewed in Melbourne – and passed.
‘I find being a trainer one of the most personally rewarding tasks I have ever performed. There are moments when you see the lightbulb going on in a student’s eyes – this never gets old. But the most rewarding aspect is seeing a large group of people come together and become firm friends, often for life.’ Favourite Academy moment: ‘FIDI gets all the trainers together every three years or so to refresh their knowledge. This is another privilege – to be included in, and spend time with, this amazing group of people.’
Andreas Eibel: ‘The students have ideas that I can apply in the office myself’
Andreas Eibel studied English and geography with the aim of becoming a teacher. But when his career took another direction and he attended the EiM (known at the time as the FIDI Institute Seminar), and then the MiM, he was inspired to become a trainer.
He is now Lead Trainer for EiM, so handles a wide variety of subject matter – but being Sales Director at Sobolak brings particularly strong expertise in this area.
‘Whenever I come back from a course, I have the “FIDI glance” in my eyes,’ he says. ‘To see the students become friends during the week amazes me every single time. I love this unique industry, where we are customer and provider at the same time.’ Favourite part of being a FIDI trainer: ‘Hearing great thoughts, ideas and solutions from students, which I can take home myself and apply in the office, too.’
Kim Ngoc: ‘I treasure the opportunity to be with my students and co-trainers’
Inspired, when she was 13 years old, by her Chinese teacher, who told her ‘the knowledge you share with others will live forever’, Vietnam-based Kim Ngoc wrote a poem about her dream of being a teacher.
During the 2008 FIDI Conference in India, Ngoc approached Academy Manager Chantal Fera and volunteered. ‘My motivation was to share my knowledge,’ she says. ‘However, I have actually learnt a lot from the participants and co-trainers, too.’
Specialising in EiM and focusing on DSP, communications, customer services and cultural awareness, Ngoc, says: ‘I treasure every opportunity I get to be with my students and co-trainers at the EiM seminars and Train The Trainer sessions. I am thankful for the friendship, the relationship, and great memories. Professionally, I believe I have grown within the moving industry by doing this, too.’
Favourite moment from an Academy course:
‘I still laugh out loud when I remember a role play in the 2008 EiM in Cape Town, South Africa. I had to play “Mrs Colby”, who was freaking out about a gun hidden in a shipment.’
Danielle Oaks: ‘I tell students that they will be in the industry for six months… or forever’
One of the FIDI Academy’s most enthusiastic trainers, Danielle Oaks has a long list of favourite ‘adventures’. These include:
- Delivering the first sponsored EiM (Laser Group) in Johannesburg.
- Delivering the first EiM in Asia (Beijing). ‘I was a bit unnerved when the week started with students saying they were there to “find out what their competitors were up to”,’ she says. ‘We ended the week with everyone arm in arm, united and shouting “FIDI” at the photographer instead of “cheese”!’
- Seeing tiger cubs on a visit to the KLM Pet Hotel in Holland.
- ‘Showing up at the Antwerp port visit with no one to meet us because our guide had retired! Thanks to MSC for helping, and for arranging an impromptu tour.’
- Boarding a Fedex cargo plane in New Jersey.
- Descending into the bowels of a cargo ship in Cape Town. ‘It’s loud!’
- Visiting an inland port, which was a wasteland – ‘we were scared we’d get eaten by wild dogs!’
- Most recently, seeing the incredible Panama Canal.
- ‘The wonderful people I have met over the years – students and trainers, who have become long-time friends.’
An EiM trainer, Oaks says newcomers are usually nervous at first – but, ‘if I’ve done my job right’ they will be energised by the end of the course.
‘I love telling students that they will be in the industry for six months or forever,’ she says.
‘I love hosting the awards night at the end of a long week… and I love sending students back to their respective companies and countries as great ambassadors of this challenging and ever-changing industry.’