Thursday, January 12, 2012

2011 in Review


As people renewed their ATA memberships at the end of 2010 our division reached 1000 members. By the end of the year it was about 1500.

The beginning of the year was marked by finding Distinguished Speakers and encouraging people to present for the S&TD track at the Boston annual conference. Another winter event was S&TD being selected as one of the model divisions who would implement the new Leadership Council system. After asking for volunteers, we formed a Leadership Council with ten members in February 2011. Administrator Karen Tkaczyk reported on the process and how it had been received at the Division Administrators’ Summit held in Alexandria, VA, in April. That summit was a great opportunity to learn best practices from other division administrators.

We found two distinguished speakers, one of whom was a Boston local, and one of whom was from Switzerland but whose employee (CERN) helped cover expenses. The effort to find them and several reminders and requests through the group’s networking avenues led to 14 one-hour S&TD session proposals for the Boston conference. The track was set at a full slate of 12 sessions by early June, and preparations began for social events. One was a social outing to the Boston Museum of Science for the Wednesday afternoon prior to the conference, and the other was a division dinner. Alicja Yarborough arranged both those events.

A Nominating Committee was formed, and handled the election of Administrator and Assistant Administrator. Thanks go to chair Abigail Dahlberg and members Susanna Weerth and Salvador Virgen. The current Administrator and Assistant Administrator Steven Marzuola both ran, and we received no other nominations. We elected them by acclamation to serve two-year terms 2011-2013.
The leadership sought member opinions on goals, activities and communication methods in a summer 2011 survey. The analysis was published to division members.

Then it was time for the conference. We had 11 sessions in the S&TD track, after one speaker pulled out due to ill health. The biggest problem we had was good one: the room we were allocated was full to bursting for several sessions, so we had higher attendance than S&TD sessions received in recent years. The two distinguished speakers pulled in good crowds and appeared to please attendees. So did the outing to the Boston Museum of Science and the off-site division dinner, attended by 30 people. Seven members of the Leadership Council were present in Boston. All seven attended the dinner and AGM, and four gave presentations, so we set a good example in volunteering and supporting division efforts. We added a panel discussion to the division’s AGM, which members received well. We tweeted from the conference and provided news updates on the networking sites for members not attending. Reviews and photos are up on the blog and website.

After discussion throughout the year on how to improve the division’s website, work began in earnest in the fall when Iryna Ashby dove in to the job with gusto. In early December we were able to take a new site live, and we were very pleased with it. We intend to update it at least monthly with brief news updates to keep content dynamic, and to add to the resources available and division records as events occur.

Throughout the year the blog, email group and LinkedIn group were all active, with the mailing list having the highest number of active contributors. Steven Marzuola moderated the mailing list and Karen Tkaczyk handled the LinkedIn group and newly opened Twitter account. The blog had a number of great articles posted and gained a second editor, Tess Whitty, to help split the workload with founding editor, Stephanie Strobel. We were pleased with an increasing number of division members showing interest in writing. Topics ranged from photonics to the value of ATA certification, from software localization to marble runs. From the conference, we tweeted to provide those who weren’t there and those who were with some tidbits. There was also some news updates posted by email and on LinkedIn for members not attending.

After huge growth as we started up in 2010, and major progress on the conference track and website during 2011, we simply hope to continue on this path during 2012. If we have a blog that continues to serve up stimulating content and an appealing set of sessions and site tour in San Diego, it will be a successful year.

Karen Tkaczyk, Administrator

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