Why am I running for the Board of Directors?
My vision: An expanding, flexible professional society built upon and established for the individual needs of its members.
My Mission: To replace a bureaucracy, built upon a 150 year foundation of “one size glove fits all”, with a responsive and flexible Membership Society meeting the individual needs of its members, its Local Sections, its Divisions and its International Chapters.
Why my theme – what’s my history?
The theme I selected for my campaign best describes how I like to do business. I know, from my own experience, many of the problems and roadblocks our members run into in their volunteer efforts to best serve their fellow members within a local section, a division, an international chapter or in the planning of a regional meeting. This is frustrating, and often all they want is someone to help show the way. However, there are also times when they are begging for the bureaucracy to just get out of their way and let them serve their members.
Give me a need…
The first Committee I was Chair of in the ACS was the Committee on Technician Affairs. Before I became Chair, I had the experience of watching a Committee taking two years (four National Meetings) in an effort to write a letter to a company on behalf of technicians. I pledged then that if ever in a role of leadership, this would never happen under my watch. This was the seed to my impatience with bureaucracy, with “kicking the can down the road” in decision-making. The need now is for the Society to respond to the needs of the chemical community and to its members in a timely and efficient manner. Even from my years at Kodak, I saw the turn around time for a research product to production decrease by years. We cannot afford to drag our feet so that the product requested is presented when there is no longer a need for it.
In my early years within the ACS, I was in Washington for a meeting. A key leader at that time asked me “What can we do to get more technicians involved in the ACS?” I responded back “That’s easy – let them be full Members!” At that time, technicians, students, etc. could only be Associate Members of the ACS. That leader then responded, “That would never happen.”
In later years, I was honored to become Chair of the Membership Affairs Committee (my 3rd ACS Committee) and as Chair, along with an excellent Committee, we were able to acquire Council approval of the bylaw change that allowed for full membership for technicians and students.
This was a need by the ACS and this was a need by students and technicians. When such needs arise, I respond. I do not look at bylaw change efforts in fear – I look upon them as opportunities.
Give me a problem…
The second Committee I chaired within the ACS was the Committee on Admissions. As Chair, I saw a problem in the duplication of efforts between that Committee and the Membership Affairs Committee. The Admissions Committee was actually expected to report back to Membership Affairs! This overlay was unnecessary and as Chair, via the 5-year Committee Review process in place at that time, I led the way to eliminate the Admissions Committee and make it a Subcommittee of Membership Affairs.
The Division of Chemical Technicians realized a problem in having all of the technicians in one Division, talking to each other and creating little appreciations of their efforts and contributions. It was generally thought to be better for their professional acceptance for technicians to “spread their wings” – and join other ACS Divisions, which align with their job. I was proud to join in the successful effort to eliminate the Division of Chemical Technicians and accomplish this goal.
Give me a challenge…
In my Rochester Local Section, we had the challenge of finding candidates to be willing to commit to the 3-years of Chair succession in the leading of the Section. On top of this, there was the sense that a Chair was well into their actual 1-year term as Chair before they truly had a grasp on their role and opportunity to make a difference. With this challenge in hand, I led the effort to design a new governance structure within our Local Section, whereas we would now elect a Chair directly for a 2-year term and allow them to run for re-election for one additional term. Simultaneously, we would elect a Vice Chair for 2-year term. Now, we are asking members to commit to a 2-year obligation instead of 3, and the 2-year term has created much more consistency in our governance. The challenge was understood, met and corrected in an innovative way that challenged the way members often feel “we have to do business”.
There are indeed a lot of challenges facing the ACS today. We see a decline in membership, much of that from industry. We have an increasing international membership, yet we are unsure how to handle it. We are living in a time when loyalty to membership is of the past. It can be the ACS – or it can be a Church. Once one finds little value to their needs, they move on.
Give me a chance!
So with these new and yet to come challenges, I ask you to give me the chance to make a difference – as I have done in the past. Not afraid to tackle a challenge – not afraid to challenge the status quo.
Some initial ideas for change
- Refocusing ACS governance. In a time when there is talk about shrinking the size of Council, which is too big for what we need, we have to also be willing to shrink the size of governance over it – the Board of Directors. We do need to ask the question “Do we truly need both Directors-at-Large and District Directors?” especially when there already a call to expand the Districts to include international members.
- Immediately refocus international efforts around each of the individual International Chapters and their needs, rather than using terms such as “International Membership”, “International Benefits” or “International Representation on Governance”. Each Chapter, as each nation, is individual with individual needs. It is time we treated them and respected them as such.
- It is time to establish the Industrial Relations Council, to replace the old Corporation Associates. This Council would be made up of some key leaders from the larger chemical corporations, but also key leaders of the upcoming new small chemical businesses and incubator companies. It is this group that should advise on the benefits to industrial member – not our own in-house governance.
- And on another note, we need to refocus on the burden we place on our members in the organizing of Regional Meetings. In my opinion, there is not a harder task placed on the shoulder of our volunteers than this – with a terrible financial responsibility. I have led the way in our Local Section’s planning for the 2020 Northeast Regional Meeting, to have some of that burden removed by hiring a professional company to run the Exposition and acquire sponsorships. By having companies that know that business run that end of the planning, we can then focus on what chemists do best – the program. I want to work with N&E and the ACS Office of Meetings to develop such guidelines to help in planning, and to seek more services to help take more of the burden off the shoulders of our volunteers.
These are examples of why I am running – what I want to do. I do not do this for my own recognition. I see success as a team effort and not an ego trip. I seek to offer common sense answers to uncommon problems.
My principles and my core values, in my opinion, are expressed best in the “The Elements of Leadership” document and my keynote address before the 2017 ChemLuminary Awards event. If you get the opportunity, I urge all ACS members, not just Councilors, to visit other areas of my website to view these documents and other key aspects of my campaign and hopefully join me in making 2021 the year we make a difference.