To say these are tough times for all is a vast understatement. The toll COVID-19 exacts on lives and livelihoods is universal and unprecedented. Yet, we persevere. In our own Institute, we have members working in crisis mode using their unique set of problem-solving skills and resilience to overcome extreme disruption in a variety of settings from manufacturing, supply chains, healthcare and corporations to college campuses.
Our ISE magazine, IISE Connect desktop and mobile, Problem Solved – The IISE podcast, the Society for Health Systems Think Tanks and IISE’s Performance Excellence webinars highlight ISEs sharing advice, expertise and experiences during the crisis with the ISE community at large. Much of this wisdom is captured on IISE’s Coronavirus Resource & Response webpage.
Like most organizations, IISE is not immune to this historic viral storm. As an association, our business model focuses on membership services and professional development from educational conferences to training programs. The inability to host in-person meetings has impacted our business, but IISE continues to rise to the occasion and deliver during these trying times. How? Thanks in large part to our volunteer members. These individuals dedicate their time, expertise and experience to advance the Institute and the ISE profession. Even during this period of extreme disruption, these members have delivered.
On the conference front alone, our volunteers have made history, bringing their fellow ISEs critical information in new, virtual formats.
The Applied Ergonomics Conference Aug. 4-6, 2020, was a virtual meeting for the first time in 23 years and will return online March 22-25, 2021, touting a top-notch program, exhibits and a first-ever virtual Ergo Cup®. Presented by IISE’s Applied Ergonomics Society, all involved in the AEC virtual production are to be commended, especially innovative ISE volunteers on the AEC committees.
IISE’s volunteers involved in bringing you educational excellence at the Engineering Lean & Six Sigma Conference + AI Symposium Oct. 12-14, 2020, also had to pivot to offer the event virtually for the first time. Kudos to the committee members for working to bring you a superior online LSS experience.
Of course, our crowning event where industry and academia converge the world over – the IISE Annual Conference & Expo – was delayed from its spring 2020 gathering in New Orleans, Louisiana. With the help of dedicated conference volunteers, the event successfully converted to an all-virtual format Nov. 1-3, 2020. The Annual Conference will continue its virtual run May 22-25, 2021, making it the hot ticket for ISE educators, students, practitioners and business experts to attend from home, office or college campus in any part of the world.
Another major event – the Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference sponsored by the Society for Health Systems – is now in the thick of program planning and registration for its first virtual outing Feb. 24-26, 2021. The HSPI Conference was the only IISE conference held on-site in 2020, occurring last February in Savannah, Georgia, before the pandemic shutdown. HSPI committee members are hard at work to bring fellow ISEs in the healthcare field a can’t-miss learning and social forum.
Our IISE shining stars who have stepped up to the plate, putting their skill set to work for the greater good of our profession through the Institute are to be commended. There are countless members and volunteers who have made IISE what it is today and continue to push it to greater heights in as many areas as there are workplaces for ISEs. IISE’s chapters, societies and divisions are ripe with this volunteer spirit as they too move primarily to virtual delivery.
In these turbulent times, we all can rejoice that the undauntable spirit of volunteerism is alive and well at IISE.
To all of our IISE member-volunteers: Thank you!
P.S. If you’re a member wanting to step up and contribute to and advance your profession by being an IISE volunteer, we welcome you. Volunteering at IISE is a sure-fire way to enhance your resume, expand your horizons and your network, build your management and leadership skills, make lifelong friends and grow by sharing. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (770) 449-0461 to get started.
By Don Greene, IISE CEO and 2019 IISE Fellow