This is my last column as president of the CSEG, since Rachel Newrick will assume this position at the AGM on March 30. I know my commitment to the Society is not complete for another year, but I will be finished with the heaviest of my responsibilities. This is my second term volunteering for the CSEG Executive with several years gap in between as I spent my volunteer time and energy at the committee level, such as conventions and social committees. Leadership in the organization is quite different from the action at the committee level, and the differences between committee service and leadership service require different skills and a different kind of focus.
In a recent conversation with Rachel Newrick and Ron Larson, who is just finishing up as Past President in March, we had observed some interesting trends in volunteers at the different levels of the organization. Most of our volunteers are more interested in making things happen than sitting in meetings in a director kind of level. We have a make-it-happen volunteer base. The context of the conversation was around the struggle to solicit nominations for executive positions and finding candidates willing to let their name stand for nomination. Rachel has already taken the bull by the horns and plans to breathe new life into the nomination process, educating the membership about the bylaws and executive roles with the goal of running multiple candidates at each executive position next December. One of our conclusions from the discussion was: when we recruit these volunteers that are willing to stand for election into leadership positions, it is important to engage the rarified volunteers who are willing to commit to a leadership role, but were not elected to do so.
Well, as serendipity would have it, we have more leadership roles developing for our society.
The CSEG Foundation is an excellent example of a CSEG organization that needs strong leadership at the board level. We have been fortunate since the foundation of the Foundation to have had passionate founders and engaged directors. We need to prepare for future engagement of Foundation directors to maintain the high standard set by past and current boards. The Foundation will have former executive members in addition to those who have stood for election to the executive and came in second place. Increasing options to bring leaders into this organization will be helpful as direction and priorities change in the future.
Another example is the GeoConvention Partnership. As many of you know, it is a partnership among the CSEG, the CSPG, and the CWLS, and is its own separate legal entity. Each society has proportionate representation on that board, with three CSEG members, three CSPG members, and one director from the CWLS. Our plan is to change one of our directors each year, and each director will commit to serve for three years, so that we may optimize fresh perspectives and continuity. The current CSEG representatives on the GeoConvention Partnership board are Rob Kendall, Rob McGrory and, yours truly, Rob Vestrum. (We should have included a maximum Rob limit in the bylaws.) Rob Kendall will kick off the rotation by being the first to resign his position and Kathleen Dorey has tentatively accepted the CSEG Executive’s recommendation to take Mr. Kendall’s soon-to-be-vacant position.
We have a highly active volunteer base with a list of committees engaged in a wide variety of activities. Below is a photo of my hand-waving attempt to adequately thank our 300+ volunteers who actively participate in 40+ committees. Our strength is in our volunteers and we have an opportunity to further strengthen our leadership to meet the needs of our ever-expanding activities.
For me, I look forward to going back to the committee level and “doing the thing”, whatever that thing happens to be.