View from the Top | Summary of the Board of Director Meeting(s)
Since my last article in February, the Board of Directors has been busy conducting the Society’s business. In a typical year, the Board meets in person once in the winter and again in the summer. However, to respond to the challenges of the past five months, five online meetings have taken place since the last in-person meeting in February. This unprecedented level of activity has been necessary to respond quickly to the pandemic challenges. During these meetings, the Board discussed the viability of the spring section and chapter meetings. As you already know, after much deliberation, all but one of the Section and Chapter meetings has been rescheduled or canceled outright. By the time you read this, the last chapter meeting cancellation should have been announced. These were not easy decisions. Cancelling educational events is in direct conflict with the mission of the Society and has significant financial impact. As the old business adage states, “No margin, no mission.” However, the safety of the members had to be the overarching priority. Some states have begun to reopen with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, the ability of hotels and universities to provide venues for large groups that provide appropriate sanitation and recommended distancing continues to make in person meetings very difficult for the foreseeable future. At the July meeting, it was decided that the 2020 Annual Meeting scheduled for Boston will be moved to an all online format to be conducted over several weeks in October. This change is unprecedented in the history of SRAI. The leadership, presenters and Executive Office staff have much work ahead to make the event an educational and financial success. I can state that an impressive meeting is being prepared that will be well worth the price of admission. Look for future announcements from the Co-Chairs..
On the topic of financial management, the Board made a number of significant decisions. The least exciting of these was the approval of the annual income tax forms. The Board also changed the financial advisor company for the investment portfolio. Under guidance from the new advisors, communication has improved significantly, and the portfolio is recovering nicely from the recent market downturn. Last year’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco was a resounding success and provided a substantial financial cushion to deal with the economic downturn over the short term. The Executive Office leadership applied and was successful in obtaining all available stimulus funding. The financial reserve and stimulus funding allowed the Executive Office to continue to support SRAI in all respects. Expenses have also been effectively managed. A debt of thanks is owed to Evan, Ellen and the Executive Office staff for their hard work, attention to detail, and persistence in this important work. Rest assured that the Society will emerge from the pandemic in a good financial state and much better prepared for any future disruptions.
In the past month, SRAI published a statement confirming its commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout all aspects of its programs and operations. At the July meeting, President Kim Carter announced a Task Force to evaluate and advise the leadership, meeting organizers and staff on issues of discrimination, diversity, outreach and inclusion. More to come as that committee begins this important work.
Barring further global catastrophes, the Board will again meet online in October in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. Remember that the Board meetings are (with the exception of brief in camera sessions) open to the members. We hope you will accept the invitation..
Authored by Bruce Steinert, PhD, CCRA, Clinical Research Regulatory Manager
Medical College of Wisconsin
SRAI Board of Directors, Secretary