Initiatives for 2013
Training, Collaborating, and Communicating
Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in your professional endeavors for 2013. I am glad that you continue to keep up to date with what is happening in the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) through reading IEEE Power & Energy Magazine and this column.
As PES president, it is great to have two years to work with PES volunteers and staff to help move the Society forward. I have to admit that I have learned much about IEEE and PES over the last 12 months. Although I was on the PES Governing Board eight years before being president, there are many activities as president that you learn through on-the-job training. In 2012 I spent 100 days on the road attending various IEEE and PES events on six continents. That is an average of almost two days a week or a little over eight days per month. And 2013 promises additional opportunities to interact with PES members.
As a special initiative in 2012, the PES Governing Board hired a consultant to develop a communications audit to review how we were communicating in several different ways:
- volunteer leader to volunteer leader
- volunteer leader to PES staff
- volunteer leaders to PES members.
The goal of this audit was to identify what we were doing well and what we could improve. The consultant interviewed over 100 PES volunteers, members, and staff individually and in small focus groups. A summary of some of the key points is available on the PES website. I would like to highlight three areas for improvement that we will work on in 2013 to help make PES even better for members, volunteers, and staff.
We learned that while we have some informal training for new volunteer leaders, Governing Board members, editors, local meeting organizing committee members, Chapter chairs, committee leaders, session chairs, and other positions, we were not providing structured training at the start of their new positions to help them hit the ground running. Often they learned by on-the-job training, causing them to spend more time than necessary on a task. For 2013, one of our goals is to develop more extensive online and other training materials that help our PES leaders make the most of their volunteer time.
The communication audit also identified that some groups within PES are not as welcoming as they could be to new participants. It was also felt that some leadership opportunities were only open to a few select members instead of more inclusive of volunteers across the board. This year we will be working with various volunteer leaders to share best practices on how to provide welcoming environments for new members. Additionally, we will be working to set metrics for our leadership positions so that we can encourage diversification of the various opportunities among all PES members.
What is the best way to communicate with a PES member? Unfortunately the audit found that there is no one way to communicate with a PES member. Some folks like paper, some e-mail, and others social media like Twitter or LinkedIn. One concern that was voiced by many PES members is that the amount of e-mail from IEEE and PES has increased, making it difficult to discern what interests you and what does not. In the communications audit report, the consultant suggested that we move away from mass e-mail blasts and look toward e-mails tailored to various areas within PES. This year we will be investigating our options for tailoring our e-mails so you get the information you need without a large number of other unnecessary e-mails.
I encourage you to look through the survey summary as it contains some excellent insights into things we are doing well and constructive suggestions on ways to improve.
Women in Power
Another initiative that started in the last half of 2012 and is gaining momentum is the Women in Power Committee. Shay Bahramirad, chair of the Women in Power Committee, is working with Henry Louie, vice president of Membership and Image, to develop programs and activities related to Women in Power. Shay’s first initiative was to develop a place within the PES Web site where members can learn more about Women in Power; see pes-women-in-power.org. Check back on this Web site to learn about Webinars from leaders across PES as well as other activities. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Shay (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Henry (email@example.com).
Two other initiatives that you will hear more about in 2013 are:
- career advancement and leadership development
- member communication and change discussions.
In discussions with Chapter chairs from all around the world, PES members would like to make sure that we have activities, workshops, and seminars that help provide the nontechnical skills power and energy professionals need to advance their careers. By developing both the technical and the nontechnical skills of our members, we hope to provide additional value for your PES membership. Within our PES membership, we have many volunteers who are leaders within their fields and can provide general career advice to help our members move up the ranks in their careers. Setting up those activities through online and face-to-face venues will provide our members with the tools they need to advance.
The PES Governing Board is working to make our Society the best it can be. Based on feedback from members, various groups within PES make changes to improve our PES benefits, activities, and programs. While no one really likes change, as a Society we must continue to keep up with various trends and needs within our industry to help our membership. As a PES leadership team, we are working to identify the best venues and communication paths to disseminate proposed changes so that we may get your feedback ahead of the changes. With almost 30,000 members, it is challenging to get the word out to everyone, but we are committed to finding the right channels through the PES structure to disseminate information and solicit input.
As I stated in some early correspondences in 2012, I continue to believe that it is a great time to be in the power and energy field. Make the most of your PES membership and get involved. PES needs you and you need PES!
If you have any questions or suggestions related to the topics above or any other PES activity, please drop me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).