Yes, that is correct, you have all read the caption correctly. I have come to the end of my tenure as the Chicago Section Chair. Over the past one and a half years, I have learned so much from the IEEE Chicago Section Members. Part of being a leader is also displaying the willingness to learn. I have come to the conclusion that it is not easy being Chair of over a 4,000+ membership base in the Chicago area. Undoubtedly one can please some of the people some of the time…and well you all know how the rest of the saying goes.
Sometimes I found myself forced to make a couple of unilateral decisions here and there. The caveat is that I made those decisions if they were good for the Section as a whole. I cared deeply about the members and aspired to provide the best value-added membership for the Chicago Section members as possible. I received hundreds of emails on a weekly basis. I took the time to read each and every single communication and responded accordingly, provided it was necessary. And the funny thing is that I found most were necessary, even the few straggled hate emails because a member had every right to express his or her disdain with the Section. It was a wake up call. It meant that I had to tighten up the boot straps, hit the ground running and earn your trust. I hope that I did not disappoint you. I value each and every single member of the IEEE Chicago Section. I wanted to give back to our members in the same manner as each of you gave to IEEE when you renewed your membership…without hesitation.
You may be pleased to know that the IEEE Chicago Section is being noticed. We have earned the title of the “Flagship Section” of Region 4 and in the US. What a compliment! Together we accomplished great things by engaging and empowering the members on several initiatives. We live in a different era and things are changing. The world is changing. This leads to the premise of one of my goals for the Section. I am adamant and passionate about cultivating a relationship with our Young Professionals (YP) and Students. Be kind to them, embrace their innovations, mentor them in their career goals and aspirations, establish trust and finally for those of us older members (myself included) step aside and let them do their thing. It is their time now. They are our future…the future of IEEE. By example, I met with two students (Amy and Neil) this past weekend for lunch. I must say that they issued the proverbial “wow” factor as I listened to their desires and wishes for the IEEE younger members. I literally sat on the edge of my seat in thrall of their acumen. I began to think of the value they could bring to IEEE. If we fail to recognize such inherent talent, then I venture to say there is something definitely wrong. However, that is not the case in IEEE. I believe with every atom of my being that IEEE values our YPs and students. I would encourage each of you to show support and nurture both groups.
Finally, I will still be around for the Chicago Section as Advisory Chair and I have decided to accept a role with the Region. My final words are to keep up the momentum and pay it forward. I expect and look to see greater things happening in the Section.
God bless each and every one of you and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be your “Chair.”