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Photo Credit: Becky Kirkland, North Carolina State University

 

By 2017 Chair - Laura Sremaniak

 

The WCC’s 90th anniversary year is well underway with an exciting line up of events planned for the fall national meeting.

 

In the few months since my last message, the Women Chemists Committee has embarked on revising our Strategic Plan. A group of WCC members and key leaders of associated groups met for a 3-day weekend of intense work, informed by input collected from our key stakeholders.

 

What are we doing well? WCC excels, among other areas, in providing recognition of the accomplishments of and advocating for women, providing excellent programming, and leading change within the ACS and being respected for it. 

 

Where can we do better? Addressing capacity to accomplish our goals, becoming a better mentoring resource, communication, providing more career development opportunities, and giving more attention to vertical integration throughout the Society (local to national).

 

From that jumping off point, we examined our vision, mission, and goals and developed a list of new strategies (future projects) to meet those goals. The remainder of this year, the committee will focus on the first steps of implementing this strategic plan, so be on the lookout for the official roll-out later this year!

 

Our plans for the fall national meeting in Washington, DC include a symposium honoring our eight WCC/Merck Research awardees, and a poster session of our WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Awardees. We will also hear from two speakers at our fall Luncheon: our Overcoming Challenges award winner, Stacy Guzman, and Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, Dean of Graduate Studies at The University of Toledo. Recognition of women remains at the core of the mission of WCC.

 

We also have an exciting group of speakers for our symposium on “The Nons: Non-tenure track faculty in a changing academic landscape.” This symposium follows the ACS Comment published in C&EN in the April 17 issue (http://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i16/Nons-Advocacy-those-off-tenure.html). Advocacy: providing a voice to and recommendations for the concerns of women in the chemistry enterprise remain at the core of the mission of WCC.

 

Our breakfast speaker will be Dr. Carolyn Ribes of DOW, the Netherlands, on developing cultural competence in the workplace. We will also wrap-up with round two of WCC’s 90th anniversary celebration at our Just Cocktails/Open meeting on Monday. Developing and retaining women in the workplace remain at the core of the mission of WCC.

 

As I wrap up my final year on WCC, I would like to offer a few words of reflection and thanks. It has been a tremendous privilege to serve on this committee and to come to know so many amazing women working in many different sectors of the chemical enterprise. I have learned a tremendous amount from all of them.

 

This committee has provided me with an environment where I was able to expand my knowledge of ACS, have a front row seat to the concerns and pressures of women in various sectors of the workforce, and it has given me opportunities to develop as a leader as we work to address these issues. I truly believe I would not even been prepared or chosen for an administrative faculty position without having had the experience of watching WCC leaders in action and having the opportunity to lead projects and volunteers. 

 

It’s also been exciting to experience the progress we have made, sometimes independently, but also in collaboration with many other groups, in recognizing women for their accomplishments, moving the needle on ACS demographics, and in our advocacy efforts focused on awards and non-tenure track faculty. Advocacy, which remains one of our goals, has been my area of passion, and WCC is uniquely positioned to define and frame the issues, generate potential solutions, find collaborators, and effect change. I look forward to seeing the WCC’s impact in these areas and its future endeavors. Thank you, WCC!