Goals for a Sustainable Society
by Helge Seetzen
Dear members of the Society for Information Display community:
A few months ago, at a record-breaking Display Week conference in Los Angeles, I assumed the role of president of this great society. I would like to share with you my goals for my two-year term. When I joined the board of SID nearly a decade ago, our society was in dire straits. The devastating financial impact of the 2009 San Antonio conference, coupled with a global recession, had brought us to the brink of insolvency. Since then, the executive board and my predecessors have worked hard to restore, repair, and restructure our society. Today, we are in great financial health and our conference is experiencing peak attendance. This strong foundation encourages me to set out three goals for my presidential term that are designed to bring SID to the next level.
Openness. A society is only as strong as its members, and we have great strength indeed. But communication and interaction among our members are still limited. To improve member interaction —with headquarters, the board, and one another — we will be rolling out a number of communication features in the coming months. First, we will launch a new online membership tool that allows opt-in and follows the latest in privacy solutions. This tool will streamline interaction among members as well as communication with SID’s leadership. One such communication will be regular updates from me on the state of our society and opportunities for members to contribute. Complementing this tool will be a restructuring of Information Display magazine to better leverage online distribution. In partnership with the publishing company Wiley,
we will bring the full range of 21st-century interaction to our readers. Other communication features will follow in later
months to bring our members together for the best possible society.
Inclusion. Bringing our members closer together is wonderful, but we also need to ensure that we include anybody and everybody in our society. Our industry is diverse, and our membership should be as well. Inclusion is a topic close to my heart, and I am very pleased that we have already made strides in this direction. Our second Women-in-Tech event at Display Week 2018 was again well attended, and similar events are now taking root in other SID-supported conferences. Meanwhile, our inaugural student fair opened doors to another underrepresented demographic. Beyond outreach, we need role models. It thus gives me great pleasure that for the first time in our history, five women now serve in leadership roles in the governance organization — including Rashmi Rao as general chair of Display Week 2019. This is great progress from a leadership table that last year was entirely male. However, much more work still lies ahead of us, and I hope to have all of your support in making our society welcoming and open to everybody from everywhere.
Expansion. Last, but most definitely not least, we need to continue our push to expand SID in emerging regions. Our new governance structure ensures that regions are now fairly and proportionally represented in the society, but we also need representation in those regions. Nothing beats boots on the ground, and with
that in mind, we have recently opened our first international headquarters branch in China. Led by Qun (Frank) Yan, this new facility in Shenzhen will provide regional support for our members and will organize local events such as the recent very successful International Conference on Display Technology in Guangzhou. We are exploring similar regional support in other countries to expand our society and reach members who cannot attend our signature events in North America.
As you can see, we are well on our way to delivering on all three of these ambitious goals. Much of this is because of the efforts made by my esteemed predecessors and the society’s leadership team over the past few years. These individuals — volunteers all — move mountains to bring SID forward, and it will be a privilege to serve with them for the next two years. But progress can’t just come from a small group at the top. All of you can make a difference. In my next editorial I will describe some of the volunteer opportunities in more detail, but please reach out to me now if you would like to contribute to growing and opening our society. I look forward to working with many of you over the next two years to make SID the best it can be for all of you.