Thoughts from the Executive Director

By Ken Williams

Image Credit: VisitPittsburgh

By the time of this writing those of you who attended our annual conference in Pittsburgh have hopefully completed the inevitable in-basket routine, and made all the calls and responded to all the emails that accumulate with time away from your workplace. Informal feedback so far indicates that the conference was a big success. We ended up with 1552 attendees, which exceeded the number we had expected just a few weeks prior to the event. Judging from the session attendance, there was a lot of interest in many of the topics highlighted at the conference. Several conference events were quite popular, for example the quiz bowl, the Ignite! session, the student mixers. And then there was the very popular closing night river cruise and dinner. We’ve been pleased with opinions from many of you that overall, Pittsburgh was one of our better conferences.

In addition to the conference itself, the TWS Council held a very productive two-day meeting on Friday and Saturday just before the conference began. Included in the many issues addressed and actions taken during the meeting were Council approval of a new strategic plan for 2015-2019, along with approval of annual operational plans for the current year. The Society’s new web site, the centerpiece of our new e-communications strategy, was rolled out during the meeting. Council had in-depth discussions about the Society’s financial status and the rather complicated transition this year from a calendar year financial cycle to one that goes from July each year to June the next. Also discussed were our publication strategy and our new agreement with Wiley Publishers. There was in-depth discussion about a new member survey covering a wide range of topics about the Society and its members. Responses from the nearly 4,000 members who have responded to date will be invaluable in designing new ways to provide benefits and services.

The Council Meeting on Friday and Saturday was followed with a Members meeting on Tuesday and a follow-up Council meeting on Wednesday during the conference. The Members meeting is held each year, and it provides an opportunity for members to gain and share up-to-date information on TWS activities and to voice their concerns and ideas for the future. This year about 200 members attended; a goal for next year is to double that number. The follow-up Council meeting on Wednesday was presided over by our new president Rick Baydack, with an agenda that included the appointment of new TWS committee members and preparations for our next Conference in Winnipeg in 2015.

Overall, a lot of very positive change is planned or underway for the Society, much of which builds on the Pittsburgh Conference and meetings. We will be sharing progress with you throughout the year, and of course the Winnipeg Conference will provide the opportunity to update everyone on where we are in October 2015. So start now in your planning to attend – it promises to be another exciting event.

-Ken