During the second half of the week, delegates were able to spend valuable face-to-face time with their colleagues from around the world. Workshops gave opportunities for delegates to develop their knowledge of INTO’s systems and processes, as well as brushing up on softer skills.
The third day kicked off with Adrian Dutch from City University chairing a panel from our UK partners, presenting their views on the key challenges and opportunities facing UK universities. This covered subjects from the referendum on Scottish Independence and its implications for students studying there, to opportunities to further strengthen INTO’s partnerships.
INTO’s commitment to the core value of Partnership was also reflected in a marketing session led by US colleagues, seeking feedback from the regions on the marketing materials that they used. Further sessions supported INTO’s core values of Purpose and Passion, covering subjects such as ways to improve the experience of both students and education counsellors with INTO.
An insightful mindset management session provided opportunities to understand different personality profiles, and learn how to recognise and work effectively with colleagues’ varied communication styles to facilitate better experiences and outcomes. Sessions such as these help strengthen INTO’s core value of Performance.
Transforming lives by providing access to high-quality Higher Education is INTO’s mission. Chairman Andrew Colin opened Wednesday evening’s GLT question time and INTO Giving fundraiser, stating: “INTO Giving is another aspect of transforming lives for those less privileged. What we do tonight will make a difference to hundreds of kids.”
After the GLT question time, the real fun, and fundraising, began. A raffle and an auction kicked off proceedings, followed by a Bush tucker-style challenge. The nerves and stomachs of INTO colleagues were tested as they were called upon to eat fried bugs and live shrimps to raise further funds.
But it was someone losing their hair that brought in the most donations; John Didier, INTO Colorado State University’s Centre Director, raised an amazing £10,000 by having his ponytail of 10 years cut off.
A magnificent £10,000 was raised at the China education counsellors’ event on the Sunday night, and an incredible £17,000 was raised at the GRC fundraising evening – which, with INTO’s Chairman generously matching all donations, then rounding it up to £40,000 – brought the final figure to a phenomenal £60,000. This money will help fund yet more INTO Giving education projects for children around the world.
The GRC provided plenty of opportunities for colleagues to network and socialise, both within and outside of the conference sessions. On Thursday the annual GRC football tournament took place, with the China regional office team Red Smog beating previous league winners Head Office.
At the end of the week, as the sun set over the Chao Phraya River, INTO staff relaxed at the closing party featuring break dancers, the home grown musical act The Kidney Stones, and a headlining set from The Unicorn Girls, one of Thailand’s most in demand cover bands. It was a fitting end to a great week, widely described as the best GRC yet.
Speaking at the closing party, Andrew Colin echoed these thoughts. “I’m feeling tremendous pride in leading this world-class team. We’re at a turning point – INTO has been a wonderful growth story, and I’ve come away completely inspired by the next seven years. The future is very exciting and I’m pleased to be a part of it.”
Author: Clare Allan
Clare Allan is INTO's Publications Editor