At our September meeting we were pleased to welcome back as for a return visit guest speaker Lorraine Deschamps. Quite a lot has happened to top Lorraine since her first visit in March 2010. The major event of course was when she was awarded the MBE in the recent honours list for services to sport and diversity. Kenyan born but brought up in Brazil and now living in Harrow, Lorrain started refereeing in 1998 when her eight year old son started playing football. She felt she could do a better job than the referees appointed to his games. She has since refereed in men’s football and the women’s Premier League. In 2010 she became one of only two women to qualify as a Level 4 Referee Tutor having been a Licensed Referee Instructor for nine years. She was a founding director, now trustee of Sporting Equals a charity which promotes ethnic diversity across sports and physical activity. Lorraine is also Chairman of the FA’s Diversity Action Group and was part of the team for the FA’s unsuccessful bid for the 2018 World Cup.
After having some members parade around the room blindfolded at her last visit we could be sure that her presentation would be something different and she certainly didn’t let us down. On that last visit her topic was leadership but this time she tackled the subject of teamwork. Her aim was to show how we can improve our performance, both individually and as part of a team through self-management. She said that she didn’t agree with that often quoted saying, ‘there’s no I in team!’. Instead she suggested that teamwork actually begins with an individual’s decisions and outlook. By managing ourselves, we may be able to increase our success within a team.
Lorraine then split the meeting into four groups. She then asked each group to discuss and present ways to change our own and others behaviour and thoughts. The aim was to improve the mood within a situation, to enable better concentration and decision making. These ideas were then used in practical exercises. Everybody was asked to make themselves angry by thinking about something, which we associated with a bad mood and then shown how simple movement can remove negativity. Another exercise demonstrated what Lorraine called her four ‘C’s’ of teamwork – Communication, Connection, Co-operation and Cohesion. Standing in a circle, we were asked to pass a ball between the group making sure that it touched twice. This ended with the ball being passed around the circle, ensuring success but not always in the way that Lorraine had intended.
Our thanks to Lorraine for another unique, entertaining and thought provoking evening. Our congratulations again on her award of the MBE and we hope she has a happy day when she goes to Buckingham Palace to receive it in December.