Spotlight on a Volunteer: Janet Haines ARPS

08 June 2017

Region: Headquarters

Continuing our series of Spotlights on our volunteers, we speak to Janet Haines ARPS - Digital Imaging Group Chair and BeNeLux Chapter Organiser.

Q. When did you start volunteering for The RPS? 
A. I am not totally sure.  Checking back copies of DIGIT magazine I have established that I became the DIG Sec in spring of 2011.  I became the Chair in 2014.  Around the same time I was also the organiser of the DIG Western Centre.
The reason I started volunteering is that I was asked to be the DIG Sec and as I believe that one should ‘put back’ into any group you belong to then it seemed a perfectly normal thing for me to do.  It has been quite normal for me to join committees when I have got involved in groups throughout my life.
So far as the DIG Western Centre was concerned it was threatened with closure when the previous organiser stood down.  I didn’t want to see that happen so volunteered to take it over.
Since coming to live in the Netherlands I have now become a joint Chapter organiser for the past year.  

Q. What do you enjoy most about volunteering for The RPS?
A. I love to be involved and organising things for others to enjoy and leading/working as part of an enthusiastic volunteer team:  It is part of my character and my career experience.  I like to organise things to the best of my ability for the pleasure others get from the activity or group:  to see things develop and grow.  It allows me to be innovative as I take groups forward.  I even enjoy the responsibility. I have never been one to stand on the sidelines.

Q. How do you manage your life around volunteering?
A. Ummm an interesting one.  Truthfully my life gets managed around my volunteering.  I have a very supportive husband who loves to see me having a passion for what I am doing.  As my passion seems to be the RPS then he totally accepts we organise our life around it – whether that be holidays, housework or the need for broadband wherever I am.  Visits back to the UK and family are often dictated by some RPS reason to be in the UK at a given date.  But they all gracefully accept it.
I do not watch TV but prefer to be at my computer organising and communicating with the team over RPS orientated issues.

Q. How has volunteering benefitted you?
A. It fulfils the need in me to feel a major part in something that I can influence and organise.  This in turn has meant I have met lots of very interesting people and broadened my network of contacts in the photographic world.  It exposes me to more talented photographers and inspires my own photography on to higher things.  Without being so heavily involved with the RPS then I doubt my own photography would be at the standard it is today.  I get to influence the choice of speakers so can often get to see and hear those I want to meet the most. 

Q. What advice would you give to other members who may be interested in volunteering? 

A. Perhaps not everyone wants to be a Chair of a group but everyone has different skills they can bring to volunteering to the advantage of themselves and the groups.  People shouldn’t underestimate what they can give.  Many hands make light work – become part of a team is my recommendation.