I remember the freezing morning when Cam Calkoen and I were talking down at the Beachside Health Club, pondering why the AIMES winners don’t really get together regularly after winning their AIMES Awards. It was like going on a first date, loving everything about the evening – only never to meet again! Us Kiwis don’t like to brag, but we still pay a huge amount of respect to the AIMES Award judges that pick out some amazing North Shore talent – and therefore, we are probably a pretty bright bunch of young people. It didn’t make sense to Cam and I why the North Harbour Club wasn’t running a network for the past winners, so we could all keep in touch and benefit in our various ways from this interaction.
Shortly after, we approached Peter White with the question – who said – “Why don’t you guys run it?”. Enthusiasm is punished, huh? But Pete had a good point – who better to run the network than two previous AIMES Award winners who liked to mix and mingle, and knew how to throw a casual party (in huge contrast to the glitz and glamour of the black-tie AIMES Awards night, you’ll find us in boardies and jandals for the AIMES Winners Network catch-ups).
We’ve been going for a few years now. We’ve had a lot of catch ups – maybe 10 or so? And not only in New Zealand – we had two or three over in London and a couple on the West Coast of the US. Cam and I figured that the past winners don’t always stick around, so we brought the network to them.
Last year, we had two events for the network on the North Shore – the AIMES Winners and Sponsors Event, held on 27th March at Kristin School and the catch up on 15th November at Regatta Bar in Takapuna.
At the March event, all up, we had around 70 alumni and sponsors in attendance. Apart from the sheer number of the AIMES Award Winners that attended (thank you once more!), what made the event special was an idea by Club President Aidan Bennett, where the tables were turned, and this time, presentations of ‘Thank you!’ certificates were made by the winners to the sponsors.
At the November event, held just days after the AIMES Awards night, we welcomed our newest winners to the AIMES Winners Network, and caught up with a lot of friends. Personally, it always fascinates me to talk with other winners from sports, music, arts and science etc, (I’m in business), just to find that despite us leading very different lives, the challenges we face on a daily and yearly basis are nearly the same. In a way, it shows that striving for excellence is difficult, no matter what path we ultimately choose.
We have four events tentatively scheduled for 2018 – two club events (same as 2017), two Winners’ events hosted and potentially some overseas get togethers. And Gary (Simpson) – THANK YOU and your team at Simpson Western for your support of the AIMES Winners Network. Sounds cliché, but we couldn’t pull it off without you.
Have a wonderful 2018 everyone!
– Dima Ivanov, January 2018
Thanks to the ongoing support of our fantastic sponsors