One CSEG committee that most people are unaware of, but that plays an important role in the society’s functions, is the Presidents Advisory Council, or PAC. This body is made up of the last 11 years’ CSEG Presidents, meets on a regular basis, and as you might have guessed, acts in an advisory capacity to the main Executive on an as needed basis. My experience has been that this group collectively contains a broad range of personalities, experience, and points of view, and can offer extremely valuable advice and guidance on tricky issues. Two recent examples are interesting.
In the buildup to our recent society elections, I adopted an approach to securing candidates that resulted in three of the five positions being uncontested. I won’t go into too much detail, my point simply being that the PAC felt this was an area they could offer guidance and assistance in, and they did so most effectively. At the next PAC meeting, several members expressed a broad range of opinions on the nomination process, the need for contested elections, and offered many very positive suggestions on how we can improve the overall process. I was very impressed at the depth of commitment, thoughtfulness and general insight. The outcome is that several of these suggestions will likely be implemented, and will result in an improved nomination process for next year’s election.
The second example is similar, and concerns the CSEG Foundation. As most members know, after several years of hard work behind the scenes, the CSEG now has an arm with charitable status, named the CSEG Foundation. Since it is in a nascent form, many fundamental issues need to be thought out and then decided on. Some examples might include developing rules or guidelines on what proportion of excess CSEG funds should be steered toward the Foundation, and what process should be followed when moving a CSEG initiative to fall under the Foundation’s charitable status direction. The Foundation currently is awaiting this type of direction, and it is the CSEG Executive’s responsibility to provide it. At a recent PAC meeting, a major topic of discussion was the Foundation, and the PAC members’ comments and suggestions will be passed on to the Executive. Given that the Foundation will become a big part of the CSEG in years to come, it is very valuable to have the PAC’s input when deciding on what shape the Foundation will take. The input provided by the PAC will allow the Executive to make wiser and more informed decisions.
Since I’m on this topic, I might as well continue, and share a couple of other issues recently discussed by the PAC.
First Roy Lindseth at the annual Past-Presidents Luncheon, and then Doug Uffen at the most recent PAC meeting, brought up the idea of doing a better job of documenting our history. As you move along in your career, the people, events and technology that shaped that career, especially earlier on, become more important. The CSEG has arguably not been very good at recording and documenting its history. The PAC feels that we should begin putting more effort into this, and that message will be taken to the Executive to discuss and hopefully act on.
One of the peripheral topics that the PAC addressed along with the election nomination process was how to make it easier for CSEG members to volunteer. The discussion zeroed in on enhancements to the volunteer webpage on the CSEG website. If you go to www.cseg.ca, click on “Contact”, then click on “Volunteer Opportunities”, you will be at the page under discussion. Members can expect enhancements to this page in the next couple of months. These enhancements will likely allow potential volunteers to easily email the office with their contact details and indicate of what sorts of volunteer roles they would be interested in. There will also be a mechanism allowing members to nominate others to run in the annual elections, or to express interest in running themselves. There are many volunteer opportunities within the CSEG, and the experience can be very gratifying and a perfect complement to one’s career.
On a totally different topic, it was pointed out to me that some of the comments concerning the JGF in my last column could be interpreted in a negative way. I apologize for this possibility, and can assure everyone that they only represent a feeble attempt at humour and should not be misconstrued. In no way was I suggesting that the JGF is anything but an excellent, positive, professionally appropriate social event, providing a unique networking venue for CSEG members.