AOCS Annual Report — 2011
Letter from the Executive Vice President
As we continue to transition in our relentless pursuit of radical relevance to you, the publications driving the world of professional society management are “Race for Relevance” (Coerver and Byers, 2011) and “Governance as Leadership” (Chait, Ryan, and Taylor, 2005). In both books, the need for change in the way elected members interact with staff and their constituent groups is asserted in a new way. Governors are leaders, and everyone involved in Board and committee work, including staff , need to pursue conversations from that perspective.
I believe this has broader relevance than to our professional society, AOCS. It has to do with the business environment in which we are all active at this point in time. The entrepreneurial mind, the strategic mind, will carry us into the future. Hence, we need to learn to think in terms of what can be and what should be in order for us to reach the goals we strive for.
In 2011, AOCS moved into its future in several highly significant and strategic ways, including:
• The first “phase” of reduction in the size of the Board from 17 to 12 members, for the purpose of creating a forum for more intense discussion and personal responsibility.
• The implementation of a new governance structure, where each board member becomes an expert in one of four critical areas: 1) strategic planning, 2) governance, 3) finance, or 4) constituent relations.
• Acceptance by the Board of a new Foundation campaign to raise funds for two critical projects that will define the future of the organization: 1) the Global Information Portal (working name) to provide state-of-the-art networking capability through the AOCS website, and 2) development of an industry council to give voice to the companies that drive the industries served by AOCS, ensuring that industry knows what is being discussed on the technical side, and that the technical side knows what is important to global industry.
• A search for, and employment of, the first “outside” AOCS staff leadership in 40 years!
Because of the executive search and some advertising deficits, the AOCS budget was not as “glowing” as it has been over the past several years. The good news about that is that the reasons were operational and predictable, rather than systemic. The other good news is that we plan for such things and have reserves in place to address them, ensuring the stability of the organization when unbudgeted expenses (sometimes linked to great opportunity!) arise.
And I’ll leave you with the last and maybe best thing about 2011, and that is that AOCS is ready to become even more relevant. We have the operational side in line, the finances put into place, and the communication platform conceptualized and ready to build. We are a unique organization due to our incredible technical and global diversity. It’s time to build on those strengths in a very deliberate way.
So think strategically! And let’s move confidently forward together!
AOCS Executive Vice President