Sheila Wong

The People’s Image Consultant

FROM AMBITION TO ACHIEVEMENT

October 11th, 2010

It was the ambition of the Malaysian members of AICI SAS (South Asia-Singapore) to have their own Ma

laysian chapter.

It took the whole of 2009 for me as the Protem President and a few core members to formally form the chapter of AICI MALAYSIA in February 2010. It was a roller coaster year for the Protem Board as each of us did our bit and our best to garner support and strength from each other to keep the chapter going in the right direction, and which has to be in accordance to the code of ethics of AICI.

The most important matter to get the chapter going was to have our first leadership training. During that time, we lined up all the duties and responsibilities of each board member and had a brain-storming session on the VISION AND MISSION of AICI MALAYSIA. We came up with the following as our Vision and Mission.

Text Box: VISION:	To be the GAP for Professional Image Consultants in Malaysia MISSION:	Growing businesses from strength to strength 		Advancing in educational & development for the members 		Professionalism at the highest level

As image consultants from different backgrounds, we had differences in ways of leading and executing plans. The Vision and the Mission of AICI MALAYSIA had been the guidelines for us to overcome those hurdles.

Next, was to address two major concerns, which I believe most new chapters will face:

1. How do you run a chapter with ZERO funds?

2. How do we increase our membership to keep our chapter going and active?

Allow me to share with you what and how we address on these concerns:

First, the members must be willing to give. Like what John F. Kennedy said “Ask not what the country can do you, BUT what you can do for the country”. Our chartered members were willing to give their time and money.

We started with every board member paying a gate fee of RM20.00 (approximately USD$6.00) when they attended board meetings held in board leaders’ homes.

Second, we adopted “I AM HERE FOR YOU” campaign that was initiated by AICI headquarters.

The board debated hotly on how best to bring benefits to our own members, to keep their interest and membership in our Malaysia chapter. We needed to get to the root because we felt if we addressed the root, it would make growing our chapter and making it into a self-funding chapter a lot more easier. We also had to deal with running our own business as well as AICI business. On top of that Malaysia, being a country of multi-racial and multi-cultural diversity, we have a lot of public holidays and these have a direct effect on the attendance during events.

We wanted the members to have ownership that AICI MALAYSIA is their image home. We wanted to grow our members and benefit their business, as in line with our mission statement.

In view of the above, we decided that all our chapter events must fulfill three objectives:

1. Expose our own members to the public and to the fraternity of AICI Malaysia, on their talents and expertise

2. Raise the educational standards of our own members by having quality speakers to share on subjects related to image

3. Use the chapter events as a platform for the members to have networking among themselves and with the public.

We have four events a year, at quarterly intervals. We started small. We learn from each event – what we had done right and what we could do better.

We found a cosy café which had the right ambience, privacy, easy access to the public and most important, within our budget. We introduced high tea with a sumptuous spread of pastas, pastries, salads, fruits and hot beverage.

During each event, we featured two speakers – one from AICI Malaysia and the other would be a invited guest to speak on some new or special subject on image. We started and finished each event with fellowship and networking for members and guests. We made a point to have a free-n-easy session wherein the VP Membership would help a guest to sign up as a member online and the VP Education would share information on FLC to interested members.

There was one event where we had a fashion show hosted by one of our members, showcasing fashion outfits from her newly opened boutique. We also had one event where we had our Malaysia top supermodel to grace our event. These caused a lot of excitement and generated good turnout.

Exhibitor space were rented to members at RM100.00 (approximately USD$30.00) and to non-members at RM200.00 (approximately USD$60.00). The exhibitors made use of the 3 hours to market their image products or services. Members were charged a gate fee of RM50.00 (approximately USD$15.00) and non-members were charged RM60.00 (approximately USD$18.00). Each networking event would give us an average profit of RM1000.00 (approximately USD300.00). This helped tremendously in our operating cost and gave us more leeway to provide more incentives for our members.

We had an average of 50 people attending the event, out of which 60% were guests. The guests were mostly friends of some of the board members. From our guests, we managed to enroll nine of them to become our chapter members over these two years.

Third, we wanted to raise the educational standards of our own members.

Since our chapter was formed in February 2010, we managed to have two major educational events where we had the honor of learning from the following:

1. February 2011 - Karen Brunger, AICI CIP

2. February 2012 - Clare Maxfield, AICI CIP,Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP, Ferial Youkim, AICI CIP and Pang Li Kin, AICI CIP.

From our first experience of organizing an educational event with overseas speakers, we learnt how to move an international educational event without losing money. One of the key success factors was having a very sound budget. We did very much better with our second event wherein we earned about RM18,000.00 (approximately USD$5,000.00). So far, all our events generated profit and visibility.

The most gratifying effect was that the events brought the members closer.

Today we are much more comfortable than when we first started. We now do not need to come up from our own pockets anymore for board meetings. We now can afford to give special concession on education fees to our own members. Most important, our membership have increased and as of June 2012, we have a membership count of 36 members and will continue to grow under the new board.

From Ambition to Achievement, I like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to my founding board members for making it possible. They were the force behind me.

SHEILA WONG AICI CIP, Founding President 2010-2012, AICI MALAYSIA

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