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  • Cold turkey? (Weekly blog, 21 July 2019)

    Posted on July 21, 2019
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    Cold comfort

    Last week was a bit of a mixed bag.   I was suffering from a cold, which is unlike me.  Because I usually take liberal quantities of Maureen Liebl’s special magical Pepper-Up Potion (Samahan).  But this time I succumbed.   The fact that I couldn’t stop coughing certainly made interviewing for our new communications assistant an interesting process!   Poor interviewees.   However, I think we found a real gem so watch this space for further news on our newest team member.

    Cold turkey

    Neither did being a bit off colour help in preparing for my forthcoming vacation.  And I fear I may just run out of time before heading off to France next week.  But what a treat – I am finally going to be able to completely switch off from INTO!   With Alex manning the office back home, I will be able to relax totally.  I’ll let you know how that all pans out when I’m back!

    But it is really important to be able to take a break.  I certainly feel like it’s time to recharge the batteries.  Time to rest, do something new, get some perspective.

    This is where we’re off to on holiday – I hope we might even climb Mont Pelat (in this image by Helac at French Wikipedia)

    Work placements

    I think this is true in the workplace as well.  And I’m completely convinced of the benefit of secondments and placements.  People and organisations can gain valuable stimulus, ideas and refreshment from contact with other countries addressing the same issues.

    INTO supports secondments, exchanges, twinning and mentoring schemes that can enable staff and volunteers to learn new skills, work SMARTer, recoup perspective and jump-start their enthusiasm.

    Organisations benefit too from a more committed, healthier worker who is willing to work harder, achieve more and accept more challenges.  But also through organisational learning.    And in today’s competitive employment market, sabbaticals can be a key benefit that gives organisations an edge for attracting and retaining skilled employees.

    Lighting the way

    This week I was delighted to hear how well a recent INTO placement had gone.   We had connected a National Trust Assistant Director of Operations, Nick Lawrence, with the National Trust for Canada.  Nick was advising on the potential acquisition of a lighthouse.  Can’t wait to find out more about how it went, but here’s a picture of Nick in his element.

    You can find out more about our TAP-INTO and ASK-INTO programmes by clicking the links.

    Cold sweat

    Yesterday, I spent the day learning to rock climb with my son.  We have both done a bit of climbing before but always thoroughly supervised.  Our training at the wonderful Calshot Activities Centre taught us how to do it on our own.  We had to tie our own knots to attach ourselves to the ropes.  And we learned how to belay each other.   Hence the idea of a cold sweat … How much trust can one put into a twelve-year old boy?  Turns out, quite a lot.   Monty was brilliant at doing and remembering all the techniques.  (The benefits of a young brain!)   And he was a completely reliable climbing partner. Not that I expected anything else.  In fact the cold sweats mostly came about as a result of us taking on more than we could chew towards the end of the day.

    Cold mountain

    I’m off to the mountains for a couple of weeks.  Hopefully, they will just be cool, not cold.  And I’ll check back with you in mid-August.


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