By Moonlake Lee, Spousal Forum Moderator, EO Singapore
Given its popularity and accomplishments, it’s easy to see why EO Singapore is recruiting members to start a second Spousal Forum* just months after launching its first.
Before the W3 Spousal Forum was officially launched in early 2014, prospective Forum members organized a year-end charitable fundraiser on behalf of the EO Singapore chapter and successfully raised SG$62,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, the W3 Spousal Forum will be working closely with the Singapore chapter to host the Asian Bridge Forum in November. And plans are underway to create a special program for the accompanying spouses and partners.
In our experience, when fully utilized, the Spousal Forum program represents one of the most important and valuable EO member benefits. There are plenty of reasons why you (or your partner) should establish or join Spousal Forums:
Personal and professional growth. Growth beyond one’s comfort zone, pushing boundaries and learning to trust are all part of the Forum experience. Learning from your peers and sharing the high and low points, the five percent of things that even family and close friends do not know about, is truly liberating. What’s more, it enables participants to work through difficult issues in a supportive environment.
Spouses have their own businesses and projects too.As moderators (peer leaders) of their own Forums, members get opportunities to develop invaluable leadership skills. They also have a chance to develop their skill sets by accessing learning experiences and training programs available to EO members.
Strengthen bonds. Since all Spousal Forum members go through the Forum Training Program, spouses will be more supportive and understanding about their partners’ involvement in Forum. And insecurity or anxiety about the confidential nature of Forum meetings is minimized or eliminated since there is a greater acceptance and understanding about the need for strict confidentiality to create a safe environment for deep sharing.
When partners share similar perspectives on personal growth in supportive environments, their relationships are strengthened. What’s more, couples can also apply forum principles in a familial setting and have family forum meetings on a regular basis! Is it any surprise that open communication channels, a non-judgmental and supportive environment—with respect and trust—brings the family closer together?
It’s good for the chapter. Spousal Forum members gain greater benefit from their partners’ EO membership. Naturally, they will be more supportive of participation in chapter activities, and such engagement help retention rates!
Needless to say, the chapter also benefits when Spousal Forums play a supportive role in chapter events e.g. helping to organize learning events, hosting visiting EO spouses during ABF Forum meetings, supporting in “handover” parties and family outreach activities.
The past nine months of being a member and the Moderator of the W3 Spousal Forum has been very fulfilling. Friendships have been formed and deepened, and attending the Moderator Summit in Osaka this year has further broadened my horizons and personal networks. I have also been given the tools for more meaningful self-introspection and interaction with my peers and family. So if you are an EO spouse looking to push yourself to the next level, I highly recommend joining a Spousal Forum.
*Forum is a benefit of EO membership. It emphasizes confidentiality, personal responsibility and experiential lessons. Forum participants are fellow business owners or peers who act as sounding boards for issues, personal and professional. Monthly meetings, facilitated by trained members, allow participants to explore a variety of situations in a safe and non-judgmental environment. The success and the popularity of the format has led to the creation of Spousal Forums, identical sessions for partners of EO members.