Being an SRAI Volunteer
Volunteering for SRA International allows you to give back to your profession and colleagues as well as receive the benefit of new friends. Your new contacts give you resources “to go to” when you are told “everybody else was OK” with the particular issue(s) you say needs to be addressed.
I began volunteering for SRAI in October 2005 by speaking at the annual meeting in Milwaukee after attending my first SRAI Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City. Nashville (Annual) and the Oklahoma (Regional) meetings brought new opportunities to present. My colleague, Judy Bristow, was one of the Annual Meeting co-chairs for the 2010 Chicago annual meeting and she “encouraged” me to take on an expanded volunteer role by teaming me up with Mike Slocum to be one of the Research Law Track Co-Chairs. And if that was not enough – Cindy Kiel convinced me to do a Family Feud inspired session entitled Counsel versus Counsel: There are Sharks in them thar waters - complete with me in a Shark costume as the host!
Well, as they say, the rest is history as I’ve been working with Mike and others since 2010 to provide a mix of basic, intermediate, advanced and hot topics for the Research Law Track at annual meetings. Planning the program and finding speakers for needed topics is only a part of the process. You get to talk and meet (when not having to social distance) your colleagues as well as share “war stories.” As you expand your professional network, you find out who is an expert (both in knowledge as well as the school of experience) and make new friends along the way. While you may initially feel nervous presenting, you will find that the collective experiences of the audience are an important asset to – so engage your audience. Consider making a proposal for a future annual or regional event – or perhaps a webinar topic.
When I’m not volunteering or trying to keep up with the latest legal issues impacting Research and Research Administration, I am an avid bicyclist. I have participated in MS fundraising by riding the MS Miami to Key Largo Ride multiple years (the actual ride was cancelled this year due to COVID). I’ve been known to rent a bike and stay over a day or two after a speaking engagement to go riding – like riding the trails around the lakes surrounding Minneapolis and riding from Minneapolis on the river trail to St. Paul and back last August.) It is great exercise and helps manage the stress of being a “juggler,” as Research Administrators and Lawyers supporting research know all too well. My goal this year was to ride at least 3000 miles for the year and I’m on track so far having reached 2100 miles by the end of July by using some of the time not commuting into cycling due to COVID.
However, don’t think the only way you can serve SRAI is to present or be a track leader or that you have to be an avid bicyclist! You can get your feet wet as a room monitor or an ambassador to help new members navigate the Annual Meeting and you can join me for a short ride when we get back to in-person meetings. Maybe we’ll try to add that as a social event at a future meeting. 😊 So, step up and volunteer!
P.S. Don’t forget to vote in the SRA Board of Directors election. You have a well-qualified slate of candidates making it difficult to choose.
Authored by David King, Senior Associate University Counsel
University of Louisville
SRAI Research Law Certificate Reviewer
David King is one of the candidates for one of the two At-Large Board Members for the Board of Directors.
Shape the future of our profession by casting your vote for the Board of Directors.
Voting will run through 11:59 PM PDT on Thursday, August 20, 2020.
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