View from the Top | The Power of Connection
Nearly six years ago, one of my Alabama colleagues invited me to an SRAI Chapter meeting. A lot has happened since that invitation, and now here we are.
My involvement in SRA International began with a Chapter meeting invitation in the summer of 2014. The Alabama Chapter hosted a wonderful, quality program, and I was excited to learn more about the SRAI organization. While chatting with some of the Chapter leadership over lunch, they mentioned they had been wanting to bring Mississippi into the Chapter for quite some time. This conversation led to several years of building this relationship, and we were excited to finally see the Alabama-Mississippi partnership come to fruition. I had the honor of serving as president of the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter soon thereafter, and my first experience of serving as an officer in SRAI began! I will be forever grateful to the Alabama Chapter leadership for welcoming me into the fold back in 2014, and to the many amazing individuals at my home institution that helped make the inaugural meeting of the newly-joined Alabama-Mississippi Chapter a success when we hosted it in 2017. Many individuals are introduced to SRAI, just as I was, at the Chapter level, which is a testament to the importance of engaged leadership and participation of our Chapters.
As we fast-forward to 2020, I am nearing the end of my term as Southern Section president. I am honored to have been elected by the Section to serve in this capacity, and I have learned so much from this experience. As we partnered with the Western Section for our annual Section meeting, I had the pleasure of working with the Western Section president, Don Campbell, as well as with SRAI Headquarters staff, Emily Mincey and Jenny Atkison, and many others. I had an insider’s view into all that goes into planning a Section meeting, and it was an insightful experience to see this perspective. I am so thankful to them and to our entire planning committee for their help. I am also thankful for, and have enjoyed working with, our Southern Section officers, Gina Hedberg, Gloria Greene, Karen Bone, Ana Feliciano, and Amy Roberts, as well as with all of our Chapter presidents in the Southern Section. Our Section and each of our Chapters have accomplished much over the past year, and many hands played a part in doing so. While we didn’t get to meet in Savannah in March as we had hoped, the experience of serving in this capacity will be one I will forever treasure.
I am a firm believer that connections are critically important, and by nurturing relationships, we build the foundation of trust necessary for successful collaborations. We each come from so many different institutions, geographies, and backgrounds, and that diversity contributes greatly to the quality of SRAI. Each member of this organization is so needed, and I hope you will consider letting your voice be heard through your volunteerism. I look forward to finding ways to continue to serve in the SRAI organization and to new and continued connections. Thank you for all you do for SRAI and for the field of research administration. Your efforts do not go unnoticed.
Authored by Dr. Jennifer Easley, Business Manager II, Bagley College of Engineering
Mississippi State University
SRAI Board of Directors, Ad Hoc Sections & Chapters