Meet a Member: Sophie & Member Planet

1. Name: Sophie Griffiths

2.    Nationality: British

3.    What country did you move to Latvia from? My family and I moved to Latvia from England three years ago, but we were travelling between England and Latvia for a few years before that as my husband was working in Riga from April to October as the Golf Pro at Ozo Golf Club. I used to spend the summers here and then we would head back to England when the snow came and you couldn’t find your golf ball!

4.   Why did you join IWCR?I was excited to move to a new country, but leaving our friends and family was difficult. I decided to embrace the adventure and go out there with the purpose of meeting new people and making Latvia a home; for me, this meant building relationships and friendships. Before I left England I came across IWCR’s website. I loved the idea of meeting women and giving something back at the same time. I joined in my first month and love being part of this community. I love meeting inspiring women from all over the world and the feeling I am part of a caring, supportive environment. I know I will always be a part of this group for as long as I am in Riga. For sure, life gets busy and sometimes I’m not able to participate in activities as often as I would like to, but I know this is OK and there is no obligation on any of our members to attend events or volunteer – although I do believe the more you give, the more you get back! I suppose this is why I am now the IWCR Membership Coordinator! 

5.    Why did you become the Membership Coordinator?Most of the friendships I have made over the last few years are a result of IWCR. I am very grateful for the welcome I received and positive start it gave me when adjusting to living in a new country. I wanted to give something back to the club and jumped at the chance of being the Membership Coordinator. I love meeting our new members and (hopefully!) being able to make them feel part of a community that cares.

6. What does the role involve?Well, I am the first point of contact for people joining the club and responsible for taking them through the application process. This used to be done on paper, but a year ago we moved everything online and now have a new system called Member Planet! I also sit on the Board as an advisor and get to work with a group of fantastic women who are passionate about the club and work really hard to keep it moving in the right direction.

7.   What is Member Planet?Officially it’s a ‘membership management system’, but actually it’s a godsend for me and IWCR! We wanted an online application process and to be able to communicate more effectively with our members – as well as give them somewhere they can communicate with each other.  We wanted this online platform to make the lives of our members easier; we know it will take some time for everyone to get used to, but I am always happy to chat with members who want extra help getting started. 

8.    What can our Members do on Member Planet?Where do I start?! So, here’s my top three features our members can use:

  1. Online payment – members can now pay their annual fees safely and securely on Member Planet using a credit or debit card. We use PayPal to process card payments, but you don’t need a PayPal account to use it – just check out as a guest. We will also keep the option to pay for fees in cash for those who prefer this.
  2. Member directory – we often meet new ladies at our events and may want to contact them afterwards. The online directory lists all our members and provides a way of emailing them directly. And if you are anything like me and not great with names, the fact members can add a picture to their profile is very useful!
  3. Event RSVPs – we can now let event organisers know if we can attend an event with a click of a button! It’s easier for members as well as the organisers can see exactly how many people are coming and also communicate with them all directly.

9.      What would you say to any members struggling with Member Planet?Don’t worry! We are really hoping members embrace this platform and get to see how useful it is, but as long as your profile is updated, you don’t need to do anything else if you don’t want to. We will continue to communicate with you via Member Planet regardless – and Member Planet will send messages directly to your email address of choice! Also, if you are struggling, I am always at the Morning Meet & Greets with my laptop and more than happy to sit down and go through Member Planet in more detail.

10. Any advice for new members joining IWCR?Welcome to the best club in Riga! Get involved if you can as you will get back so much more. Remember this is your club – if you have new ideas or want to start a new activity, please let us know! We can help you set it up and are always open to new ideas and ways to improve the club for our members. 

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