Message from the President

Hello SCWIST and Friends…

Out with the old and in with…. the even older!

Hello – I’m Maria Gyongyossy-Issa; SCWIST’s current president – and if it feels like ‘déjà vu’ for you – it is because you’re absolutely right: I was “the Pres” back in 1996: hmmmm – when most of you were in elementary school! At that time, even my daughter was a difficult teenager. Sorry, Antonia – but then you were developing into strong woman – at least you come by it honestly and genetically. I think we are the first mother-daughter team to be both on the Board at the same time: Antonia Issa is your Director of Communications and Marketing.

So much has changed since my last round, but so much has stayed the same. SCWIST is still one of the best science networking organizations, with an amazing coterie of intelligent, interesting women who are worthy of life-long friendships: if for nothing else, it is worth being a SCWIST member just to rub shoulders with all of you.

SCWIST still runs excellent programs. MS Infinity (in case you didn’t know – it stands for “Math and Science – an Infinity of choices!”) has been our flagship for many, years – from even before my (first) time! – and under the guidance of Sandy Eix, Sharnelle Jenkins-Thompson and Jeannine McCormack find ways to reach new groups of young women to entice into the joys of science. Our Immigrating Women In Science program, fondly known as IWIS, and spearheaded by Gordana Pejic, provides a sense of community to our new colleagues and connections to kindred spirits.

SCWIST has always had a tradition of great events and that has held true over the years. The Events Committee, under the guidance of Mojgan Kavoosi has a large variety of fun, educational, fun, interesting, fun, intelligent and yes, FUN events planned for you for this year. Tour our website regularly – as there will be a lot happening! While you’re at it – you may have noticed our LinkedIN, twitter and Facebook presences… the Communications and Marketing team are connecting us not only to ourselves, but to the world. To me, a product of the typewriter and carbon paper era, this is truly magical. These bits of magic happen because we have talented, willing members who volunteer their time and expertise and our social media and website-women are truly amazing! Julie Wong finds and channels the talent and creates connections with sources of expertise and support – SCWIST’s greatest assets.

None of this would be possible without – yes, you guessed it – money!

To provide you/us with the means to reach our goals, we have to apply/fight for grants – and Maddison Spenrath could probably build an entire career on her ability to cajole money from funding sources! Where are we going and how will we get there is in the hands of our official “practical psychic,” Rosine Hage-Moussa who led us through a strategic planning session and trains us to focus on the future and SCWIST’s next 30 years: the first steps determine that crucial direction!

All of this needs infrastructure and management, which is where the unsung heroines toil away: Kristen Hodge, or Treasurer, manages our hard-won wealth and is initiating us into the intricacies of financial reports, budgets and similar mysteries. Sabeen Mapara, our Secretary, is the ultimate herder of cats – she keeps the Board of Directors functioning, on track and moving forward: she has lists, checks up on us and chases us for meeting items and minutes! Thanks to Sabeen, we are working on having our Board Meeting agendas and minutes on the website. In case you want to find out what goes on at a Board Meeting, you are most welcome to attend: they are on the first Wednesday of every month, 6:15 PM… and mostly at Science World (thanks, Sandy!) If you don’t have anything more exciting to do and want to join us – please let one of us know so that we can open the SW doors for you.

For the big questions and big picture items in a historic/strategic context we don’t call Ghost Busters, instead we call Anna Stukas, our Past President – and she usually has it all at her fingertips. The daily details, of Who, What, Where, When, Why – and the How as well are handled by Brigitte our Resource Centre Coordinator.

So what do I do? Well, I’m “Mother”: I make sure that our house is in order and everything runs smoothly – and we have processes, procedures, and infrastructure in place. To achieve that, probably one of the most exciting developments we have under way is the Board Manual. In project management parlance, the Project Champion is Gordana Pejic and the Project Lead is Mayu Ishida. Mayu will not only create our Board Manual, but with some luck, it will become a wiki to house our “institutional memory”.

We have also created a Board Advisory Committee, a Board Development Nominating Committee, a Finance Committee, a Human Resources Committee… and Julie Wong and Lorraine Graves are reworking our by-laws to give us the flexibility needed for the next 30 years.

So what can you do?

All of these committees need people (many hands make light work!) so if you are interested in participating in any of them, either learning or providing expertise, we want you! For example – we are in dire need of a webmaster (mistress?) – but any and all expertise is welcome and will be put to excellent use.

If you don’t have time for a committee, but you wish to be heard, I would be interested in your thoughts/opinions on this UBC initiative:

The goal is to learn about what are the interests and needs of our women faculty in taking on leadership roles, to provide opportunities for participants to connect to leadership in their units and at UBC, and to provide input on how the present organizational culture and structures could be more supportive and attractive for diverse leadership.

Come – be a part of SCWIST’s next 30 years!