On 11 April 2016 I had an idea while I was playing golf with Frank (President) at Ballyliffin Golf Club.
I had spent the morning playing with Liam (Captain) and had a golf chat at lunch with Liam, Frank and Andrew (Head Greenkeeper). After lunch Frank and I went out to play Glashedy Links and as we were chatting, he told me that some children couldn’t continue golfing purely for financial reasons.
I found this unacceptable and decided to change it.
After chatting with the people I was staying in with in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, I developed my idea into The Fairway Foundation to sponsor junior golfers all over the world, regardless of skill level.
A passion for golf is all that is required.
Golf without bounds.
I wrote a 4 page outline and emailed it to a friend in the golf industry in Spain, one in the USA, and two friends in Australia. They all loved the idea and all said to let them know what I needed to get it off the ground.
I just told Jeremy, one of the Australians, he would be my co-founder as we have worked together in the past and it is a good fit. We both have expertise in different areas and he is happy to tell me to pull my head in and slow down when I need to be told.
Before Jeremy got back to me, my 4 pages had expanded to 10 and I had a strategy for engaging a Board and my vast numbers of contacts. As the idea grows I'll need to speak to more people for advice, expertise or help.
Jeremy then emailed me a list of questions, all of which I had already had answers for, so he said, “Cool. Let me know what you need at this end. Meetings, people you want to talk to. Registrations, operations etc.”
I do believe he was in.
We think alike and the idea has evolved with Jeremy on board, sharing ideas and creating new avenues to attract more people to play golf. He helped me decide on the name, "Fairways," as Fairway Foundation was being used by multiple different golf not-for-profits, and we are going to be unique.
Jeremy also introduced me to Trello, a project management platform in the cloud, and honestly, how have I ever lived without it? We also chat on Slack, a team messaging platform, and talk live on Skype or Facetime. I am not only excited about Fairways, but this is the most efficient office I have ever worked in, and I love it.
As I speak to friends and contacts in the golf world everyone wants to help in some way. So I am tapping in to the expertise of those around me and it is all falling into place. Quite the collaboration actually.
While sitting in my house in PEI today, I had numerous Skype meetings with various stakeholders in different countries.
Chaz, the lawyer was first. It was my first meeting with Chaz as he is a colleague of Jeremy (or golf buddy or maybe both). I had a great meeting with Chaz, who I chatted to about our constitution as I had put one together earlier that day for Jeremy’s comments. Chaz had some notes and we discussed other legalities.
Then it was a Skype with Ric in Canberra. He is an old friend of mine, we initially connected via sport and we golfed together in Canberra not long after I started playing and I do recall he was surprised I could actually play golf. Not consistently good but more good than bad.
I messaged him last week to tell him what I was up to and he wanted to Skype. He has a friend who knows all about DGR (deductible gift recipient) and charity registration and wants to help me with that. In fact after a good Skype chat, a couple of emails and Ric has offered to do this registration for us with his friend helping him.
One thing less for me but it is not unimportant and it needs to be done but someone who will do it right makes this the best office in the world.
Where has Trello been all my life? I invited Ric, virtually introduced him to Jeremy and we are underway with another part of the puzzle that is setting up a not-for-profit!
Being a project manager I am used to juggling but it is usually with volatile balls that vie for attention with me trying to get everything done myself. Now I am still juggling but have offloaded the volatile balls and can focus on what I am best at.
I remember asking Jeremy why a NFP like we are creating hasn’t been done before and his response was, “Because it’s f**king hard!”
It is hard and some days I think what the hell am I doing? Then I get an email from Jeremy, or a message from Ric, as they reach their milestones and I get excited, knowing I am helping to create something fantastic.
After working in small companies, I still seem to think that I need to do everything but instead I answer questions and talk to people and write and that is what I need to do while other experts do their bit, helping to bring this together.
The team is working at different hours in different parts of the world but it all just seems to fall into place.
It is the ultimate office.