An Agenda for the Year Ahead
It is hard to believe that I am entering my last year as SHPE’s Board Chair. It has been both an honor and a privilege to watch this great organization achieve record growth, weather a global pandemic, come out of it stronger than ever, and, ultimately, increase the number of Hispanics in STEM careers around the world.
I have laid out an ambitious agenda for this final stretch, almost three years of regular work in one year! But I am confident that with the help of our incredible staff and fellow board members, we can make it happen and set SHPE up for another 50 years of success.
My priorities are as follows:
As you well know, we are currently in an intense search for SHPE’s next CEO. And it is my most pressing goal to hire and train this successor, ensuring they are ready to hit the ground running the moment they are confirmed. The vetting process has been exhaustive and that takes time, but we need it to make sure we get the right person and not make compromises.
We are one SHPE, and as such, I am integrating the Regional Vice Presidents (RVPs) into Operations so that they are part of the overall organizational strategy and communications. While this should have been done from the beginning, I am committed to fixing it now. This will eliminate some of the alignment and communication issues we’ve had over the past few years. Being new territory, if the initial model doesn’t work, we will work to modify it until it does. We are problem-solvers, after all! It’s what we do best.
With the new fiscal year, comes a new Board of Directors. 60% of the membership will be elected or appointed to their first term ever. From both this freshman and veteran cohort, the next Board Chair needs to be elected. My goal is to have this person identified and confirmed months before the end of my term so we overlap and have a seamless hand-off.
As a Board, we will review, modify, and reaffirm both a short-term and long-term strategic plan. Our current plan has served us well for the past 6+ years, but given how much we have grown, how strong and stable we are, and the level of professionalism of our staff, we need to take it to the next level. We will lay out a firm blueprint for the next 5 years, an anticipatory roadmap for the next 10 years, and a broad scale vision for the next 50.
In preparation for the next CEO, I’ll be reviewing and resetting (where needed) our staffing structure. This will ensure that from day one, our new leader will be able to focus on driving SHPE and not worry about personnel imbalances. In this effort, the COO role will be reestablished and strengthened as truly the head of operations to keep our staff and the day-to-day work running as smoothly as possible. Additionally, with the RVPs reporting into Operations, we will have a seamless communication and execution mode to increase our efficiency managing SHPE.
Two weeks ago, three of our Board Members donated a total of $25,000 to SHPE, hopefully kicking off a new era of individual philanthropy. While we are continually grateful for the financial support that the IPC and Career Fair brings in year after year, we also acknowledge that individual donors will ultimately give us the fiscal stability we need as an organization. A new focus will be placed on establishing a firm culture of giving among our members (past and present), volunteers, and board. In fact, we now have a person in charge of philanthropy whose sole job is to create the culture and increase donations.
We will finish the rollout of systems that will:
Simplify operational check and balances
Install a separation of powers in Finance to increase accountability
Institute a new expense reports system for employees, Board, and volunteers
Enact the auto renewal of memberships, so that we don’t have to sell SHPE to the same people every single year
- Additionally, I hope to define our purpose (something we had planned for the year the pandemic hit but had to pivot to accommodate the new reality).
And, finally, I hope we can clean-up some of the issues in our bylaws (like the classification of Lifetime members for voting purposes, etc.) that interfere with our efficiency.
As you can see, this is an aggressive list. But SHPE deserves nothing less. Thank you for joining me in making our Familia the best it can be. Now, let’s get all of this delivered!
Chair, SHPE Board of Directors