IN 1891, a young man named Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle settled in 2 Upper Wimpole Street in England and started his practice as an eye specialist.
Later, he wrote in his autobiography titled Memories and Adventures, “Every morning I walked from the lodgings at Montague Place, reached my consulting room at 10 and sat there until three or four, with never a ring to disturb my serenity”.
As he waited for patients, Doyle decided to write stories, following an earlier piece called A Study in Scarlet which he sold to a magazine.
A Study of Scarlet was the first Sherlock Holmes story written and it was during those days when “not one single patient had entered the threshold of my room”, that a series of Sherlock stories were birthed and went on to become masterpieces that changed the world where crime fiction was concerned.
Reading about the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story reminded me of my own.
In my previous column, I had mentioned the first year of my marketing service business was tough. I started my business with just one person (me) and a home office.
Like Doyle, it was in one of those early months, when I was starting out and had few clients that an idea came to me.
I recall, one day in that first few months when I was waiting for responses from prospects in my business, that I sat on my sofa and pondered what else I could do with my time while waiting. In my former company where I was the marketing head, I had organised a lot of events, all done in-house and with very few resources.
“Since I know how to organise events, why don’t I organise one that I myself would like to attend?” I thought.
That was how, WEVents, a non-profit social event for working women was born. Now in our fourth year, WEVents’ uniqueness lies not in the fact that it is an event for working women, but that it is run by volunteers — meaning no one gets paid to help.
Over the years, we have gained the support of many companies and women entrepreneurs. All support is in kind (in terms of gifts and prizes) and not monetary. The funds to cover the cost of the events’ venues and food has to come from me.
There have been moments that I contemplated whether I should keep WEVents going.
Although we have our members and supporters, there are also people who question my motives.
Some even ask me why I am spending money on healthy and gainfully employed women as opposed to the underprivileged.
For me, I believe in doing good to our neighbours, not just to the underprivileged. And our neighbours can be the colleagues seated next to us.
True, I cannot please everyone. But I guess my reward comes from listening to the stories shared by some of our WEVents attendees.
One told me how she was reconnected with her long-lost childhood friend after 20 years at one of our events.
Another told me it was at our event she found a group of friends who share her interest of being wedding performers.
Now, they have even formed a band.
Then, there was a lady who is outwardly quiet and reserved, who applied to participate in our “talent show” in our anniversary event every year.
With a day job as a finance executive, she saw our event as a platform to express her creative side to the world.
Now, you may ask me what WEVents has got to do with changing the world. Perhaps to me, changing the world does not have to do with doing something big, but just being able to change the world of just some of these ladies.
For business people and especially for people starting out, there may be times when business is slow and you wonder if you will make it.
Perhaps you can try making something out of the bad times and create something good? Because you too can change the world.
> The dreamer Jeanisha believes everyone can be a ‘world- changer’ and that it does not have to involve the big things or a lot of money. It might just involve our free will. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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