Hello from new SAIF President

March 30, 2015   //   No Comments

Well here we are; 4 days into my role as President and already I am writing my first page! And what a 4 days they have been.

I must begin by paying tribute to Mark and the tremendous amount of work he has put into his year as President. Last year I told Mark that I would learn a lot from him, and I have. I have learnt that this year will be a challenge, but also a privilege. Mark has set the bar high – SAIF’s membership is growing, and SAIF is receiving recognition that it has not received before; we are being invited to places we have not been invited to before; and because of that the role of President has also grown, but Mark has stepped up to the challenge and represented SAIF in fine form.

It is therefore with immense pride that I stood before the members at Windsor to accept the role of your national president. Whilst I admit being daunted by the task ahead, Mark has left big shoes to fill; I am looking forward to a memorable year – meeting members and representing SAIF to the best of my ability.

Many of you will know that my husband and I have six daughters. Those of you who did not are probably gasping in shock at this point. Amidee our eldest daughter accompanied me to the AGM and banquet weekend in Windsor, and what a wonderful weekend we had. My husband may not be able to attend many events with me this year, however without his support I would be unable to embark on this journey myself. Do not feel too sorry for him though – he has seven women in the house catering to his every need!

Family is incredibly important to me though; indeed it is the cornerstone of everything that I do. My grandfather began work in the profession at the age of 14, 69 years ago. He has been a constant source of inspiration to me;  it was he who first brought me to a SAIF meeting, some 10 years or so ago, and it was he who instilled in me a dedication to high standards within the profession and also a belief in training being the key to those high standards.

I would also like to acknowledge another gentleman without whom I would likely not be writing this page. Mr. Gwilym Price. Gwilym was one of SAIF’s founding members and certainly SAIF’s strongest supporter in Wales. He has supported me throughout my career, and nominated me for the SAIF executive. His grandson Rhys has also been through the IFD College as one of my students and I was honoured that both Gwilym and Rhys travelled from Lampeter to Windsor for the weekend to offer their support.

I began in the business part time through college and university, before working in the profession full time. I have since opened my own business G E O’Driscoll and Daughters, along with my husband. We are based in a small village outside of Llanelli, in the Carmarthenshire countryside.

I have worked for the IFD College as a trainer and assessor for around 6 years and as a Quality Assurance inspector for SAIF for 4 years. This has given me the opportunity to visit a plethora of members, and you will have seen me not only in Wales but also throughout the West of England and parts of the Midlands. Last year I conducted 148 visits, both existing and prospective members; and so, I have had the privilege of meeting many members of differing sizes along the way. I have learnt a great deal from this; from the issues being faced to the regional variations that exist; but most of all I have learnt what a dedicated group of funeral directors our members are. I have been inspired by those I have met on my travels, and I look forward to meeting even more this year.

Quality must be at the heart of SAIF and as a Quality Assurance assessor I can tell you that whilst SAIF has seen a great expansion in membership numbers, and I hope it that will continue to grow, Quality will always be put first.