New Year’s is a time for both reflection and resolutions. For me, as I begin 2010 as NSGC’s new President, I can’t help but think back to the first time I served on the NSGC Board as the Region VI Representative from 2002-2004. NSGC was different then. We had 21 Board members and met as a full Board only twice per year apart from some intermittent email. The Committee Chairs, who were appointed by the President, served on the Board along with the Regional Representatives and Officers who were elected through the majority votes for one of two candidates.
Today, we have twelve Board Members selected by a Nominating Committee that reviews each applicant’s written application and interview, and the selected candidates are ratified by the membership. The Board meets monthly by conference call in addition to the twice per year in-person meetings and frequent, in-depth email discussions. Committee Chairs are selected by the President and create strategies to accomplish the overall organizational goals outlined in NSGC’s strategic plan. The intention of these changes is to create a more nimble, strategic organization; more work will be done going forward to be proactive and predict changes that affect the practice of genetic counseling in the era of genomic medicine.
Just as NSGC was different during my first term on the Board, I was different then, too. Looking back at that naïve region rep, I almost feel as if I’m reviewing someone else’s performance rather than my own. What did she know about running an association? She actually had to ask for help in manipulating the Excel file NSGC used for the annual budget. And the unfamiliarity of terms like “environmental scanning” and “strategic planning” made her sweat.
Since then, I’ve been to business school, worked in a corporate environment, and lost a parent. It’s hard to say which of these experiences has been more profound, but I know with certainty they have changed me permanently and shaped my vision for NSGC and for myself as one of its leaders.
As for transition from 2009 to 2010, there was of course no NSGC celebration at Times Square or even a virtual Times Square. And it would be a stretch to say we have a “new NSGC”. There are changes though. We have new Board and Committee Members and a new strategic plan (http://www.nsgc.org/about/strategicPlan.cfm). Each of NSGC’s leaders has made a resolution to complete this plan. As a result, there will be more changes in 2010 including a new website, new legislation we hope to introduce to Congress, a new marketing plan, and a new focus on leadership.
So, what is my New Year’s Resolution as NSGC’s new President? It’s simple. To serve NSGC to the best of my ability with the hope that when I raise my glass at midnight on December 31, 2010, NSGC and its members will be just a little better off than they were the year before.
Happy New Year, NSGC.