Hi Macsene - thank you for being an active volunteer - we need to inspire many more of our members to step out of their comfort zone and just like you discover that the benefits of volunteering includes both tangible and intangible rewards.
As I have alluded earlier in my previous discussions, my hope is for current active IChemE volunteers to reach out to many others and when we have more members who experience the personal satisfaction of supporting initiatives of our institute, a chain reaction will be initiated - active volunteers become the catalyst that will keep producing increased member engagement. These "reach-out" programs need to be intentional and a plan need to put in place to address how the different levels covering the large spectrum of our membership can be mobilized.
Some examples of initiatives that I have been considering could include:
1. Revitalize the SIGs - this needs to happen in all members group globally. SIGs provide an excellent platform for our members to connect and share ways to address common challenges within their interest group. We need to ensure that our IChemE executives are available to effectively support the SIG activities. We need to encourage the use of technology in broadcasting the sharing sessions from all our SIG forums.
2. Raise visibility of IChemE's Learned Society through key thought leadership projects to address certain grand challenges that our society face. These projects should attract and involve global participation. The Learned Society Committee has a key role to encourage submission of project ideas and perhaps we can get the wider membership in the decision making as to which projects to prioritize, i.e. put to vote shortlisted projects.
3. Improve partnership with Industry - I would like for us to identify ways of how we can better engage with industry to encourage companies to support their chemical/process (as well as other related discipline) engineers to be involved IChemE because it would be good for their business. IChemE has an important role in helping industry develop their young engineers, so perhaps this is one area we can use to get our foot in the door.
4. Attract and Sustain Early Career Engineers - As mentioned by Bill we have an impressive Young Members group - I was privileged to meet and interact with some of our young member group leaders when I attended the BoT induction. In Malaysia, we too once had a very vibrant young member group about 5 years ago which sadly got disbanded when they failed to sustain interests from their peer group (one of the key reason cited was the lack of support from their employers and the other is just the time factor). Therefore IChemE needs to be the organisation that would appeal to our younger members and help them see that our activities will provide them with the opportunities to accelerate the achievement of their personal and career ambitions
5. Support IChemE Student Chapters - I am unclear as to what is the level of support we provide or how actively we engage with ChemEng undergraduates. My memory of IChemE during my undergraduate days was the Frank Morton Sports, which is now in the very distant past. I'm sure a lot more is being done now and I know that as a fact based on the activities we run in Malaysia. The IChemE Malaysia Annual Awards now include recognition of the Best Student Chapter. I sense however that there is still room for us to do more and I would like to hear from our undergraduates themselves as to how else IChemE can play a more significant role in supporting them at university.
The list above is not exhaustive and I'm sure there are many more great ideas that will be generated by our members. The key success factor would be IChemE's ability to create that purpose and excitement among our members - every member need to find that motivation to play an active part and it is our prerogative to help them find it....