The FIDI 39 Club held its conference side by side with FIDI’s, providing opportunities to learn, contribute and discuss the organisation’s initiatives to make a bright future for the global mobility industry. But there was also a chance to relax, network and socialise. 39 Club Board Member Juan Díaz reports
One month ago, the FIDI 39 Club conference took place in the wonderful city of Bangkok. Thailand amazed us: its people, hospitality, crowded streets, incredible temples and, of course, extraordinary food.
With the largest attendance since the pandemic, this year’s event was a memorable one.
We began with a very powerful ‘Speak like a pro’ presentation by Isabel Valle, where we were given useful tools that can improve our skills and power up our presence when we’re in front of an audience.
Valle helped us to understand that every one of us has great ideas that should be heard and that ‘if you speak from the heart, people will be more empathetic with your message’.
She emphasised the importance of having the right volume and pitch in our voices, and of paying attention to our non-verbal communication when sharing information with others.
We closed this session with an affirmation that we will all remember: ‘All I need is within me now. I am confident. I can do it. Yes!’
During the first session, we also had the pleasure of being welcomed by our now former FIDI President Laura Ganon, who reminded us of the importance of the 39 Club to FIDI and its vital role as the future of the industry. The 39 Club Board and our members thank Laura for her amazing support during her tenure – and welcome our new President, Derek Duffy. We are more than certain that, with his support, our club will continue to grow.
Later in the day, all members were invited to join the stressbuster Thai boxing session, where we learned some interesting boxing moves from a local champion, who helped us stretch out after our morning session and push our dopamine levels through the roof. Here, we got to work together to create teams and prepare short presentations for everyone –0 the ferocious ‘tigers’ team won first place.
The afternoon kicked off with the Itsy-Bitsy tour, for which we rode in electric tuk-tuks from the Shangri-La Hotel into Bangkok’s China Town. There, we had very tasty street food, which included some special treats: scorpions and spiders – an amuse-bouche to remember for the rest of our lives.
These experiences are part of the journey that the FIDI 39 Club offers, where we can develop the unique, strong relationships that underpin our industry.
At the end of the day, we travelled to the Havana Club and the traditional FIDI party hosted by the 39 Club. For a special touch this year, we mixed things up with Latino music, while our members from around the world mixed with the Thai locals.
We started our second day with brunch, before the afternoon session and our presidential handover, where outgoing President, Jessica Deutschmann, presented Jackie Stouffer as her successor.
The 39 Club’s members and Board thank Jessica for her outstanding work and dedication to the Club. We are looking forward to continuing to work with her in her role as Past-President. Jackie will lead the Board and the next steps and strategy for the Club.
In the afternoon session, this year’s scholarship winner – Cristian Petersen, of Argenvans World Wide Removals in Argentina – presented his project ‘To think of others is to think of ourselves’, demonstrating the wonderful impact that his project has on environmental issues, and sharing how it also covers economic and social challenges. We invite all FIDI members to participate in the scholarship initiative in the future, with the aim of winning a place and making the world better for everyone.
We also had an informative session on the 39 Club’s exciting mentorship programme, where mentors and mentees got the opportunity to share their thoughts. One of our extraordinary mentors, Gordon Bell, said: ‘I have never done this sort of thing before, so, oddly, I was a bit nervous, thinking how do we start? Why did I put my hand up? I think Kevin (Amwoga, his mentee) felt the same, but after the first introductory session we moved ahead to the second meeting with a plan.’
Kevin said: ‘As a long-time attendee of conferences in the industry, I was impressed with the organisation’s attention to detail and professionalism. I signed up because I believe this programme will provide valuable insights, and I am eager to learn from my mentor Gordon, and to network with peers. I look forward to more opportunities to connect with fellow professionals’.
Another of our incredible mentors, and incoming FIDI Board member, Sebastian Laporta said: ‘Having someone to talk to and get advice from is invaluable. In turn, I am sure I will also learn a lot from the younger generation, whose vision of various topics is different from mine. It is a win-win for both of us.’
One of our first mentees, Stephen Twilley, said: ‘It has been great having a mentor who is external to the business I work in. It allows an honest conversation without potential judgement from colleagues.
Max Chorus (his mentor) has been a great support, offering ideas and views on how to approach things. I feel myself and Max have got to know each other very well during our conversations, and know I can always reach out to him for support if I need it in the future.’
We encourage all FIDI members to participate in the mentorship programme. The FIDI 39 Club will continue this initiative, which helps our mentors and mentees to develop connections, partnerships, knowledge and, above all, long-lasting relationships. We truly thank our first mentors – Kim Ngoc, Sebastian Laporta, Max Chorus, Gordon Bell and Brian Loud – as well as our mentees, Lisa Huijgne, Max Neumann, Stephen Twilley, Kevin Amwoga, and Laura Bedwell.
At the end of the conference, we had our traditional informal dinner, this time on a cruise on the Chao Phraya river. We enjoyed the breathtaking view of the city, and some enthusiastic karaoke singing.
This conference was outstanding. The FIDI 39 Club members and Board want to highlight the amazing job and support from the FIDI office, and its fantastic effort to make all these activities and experiences possible. Also, thank you to the FIDI Board, who gives great support and guidance for the initiatives and innovations that we propose.
Finally, we thank FIDI Asia for their warmth and activities during the week.
Jackie, Jessica, Sonja, Andrew, Michael and I will continue honouring the trust that members put in us, to give you our very best… see you all in Edinburgh.