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New SIOP Executive Director Hits the Ground Running

Clif Boutelle

For David Nershi, SIOPs newly appointed executive director, the Los Angeles conference was a getting-to-know-you event.

Hired less than a month before the conference to succeed Lee Hakel, who retired after heading the Administrative Office the past 10 years, Nershi found the conference a perfect place for his introduction to the world of I-O psychology.

No stranger to association conferences (he helped coordinate 10 of them in his previous position as executive vice-president of the National Exchange Club), he said the SIOP event was quite impressive.

With the vast array of workshops and presentations, there was something of interest for all of the 3,300 people who attended the conference. The education and the science presented was indeed stimulating. And I could clearly see that the conference was an opportunity for members to get together, meet new people, and renew acquaintances. It is no wonder that so many people speak highly of the annual SIOP conferences. They seem to get better and better, he said.

Nershi said it was good to see so many young people meeting longtime members and building their own networks. In a lot of associations, the younger members do not have the opportunity to meet and interact with the people who are pioneers and have made huge impacts in the field, he added. 

The younger people are the future of SIOP and I-O and to see the more senior members taking such a great interest in the students speaks well for SIOP, he said.

Since his whirlwind first month at SIOP, Nershi has had a chance to reflect on his new position. First and foremost, I am looking forward to providing service and support to SIOP members and being quickly responsive to issues that arise. Lee Hakel did a wonderful job of doing that and it is something I want to continue.

He sees some great opportunities on the horizon for SIOP and its members starting with the fall consortium Oct. 2829 in St. Louis. Entitled Leadership at the Top: The Selection, Globalization and Ethics of Executive Talent,the conference will feature leading-edge thinkers to focus discussions onthis critically important topic.

The conference is a goal of new SIOP president Leaetta Hough, and Nershi used his experience to help develop the budget, negotiate contracts, and promote the event. A smaller fall consortium fulfills a need for senior members who want to go into more depth on selected subjects. The initial response has been very encouraging and I think this can develop into a great meeting for SIOP, said Nershi.

He also sees the growth and expansion of I-O throughout the world as an opportunity for SIOP. We have been contacted by some organizations in other countries asking about establishing relationships with SIOP. We need to take the lead in bringing together other I-O-related organizations, he said.

Another key area, said Nershi, is the continued use of technology to meet the needs of members. There have been some tremendous accomplishments in this areaJobNet is just one example of thatbut more can be done. We need to be creative and push ahead.

He listed the need to expand SIOPs public identity as a great challenge. We are very good at communicating amongst ourselves and with our peers, but we need to improve communications with other important audiences, like HR people and managers. They need to know more about I-O and how it can be useful to them.

His strong background in marketing and communications will be especially helpful in this major effort.

Nershi has also been reading I-O publications and familiarizing himself with the work of SIOP members. Through these publications and interacting with researchers and practitioners, I am making an effort to be knowledgeable about issues that most concern SIOP members, he said.

But there is no substitute for face-to-face contact, and one of the great benefits to me at the Los Angeles conference was the opportunity to meet so many people. It was an enjoyable experience and I am looking forward to getting to know many other members, he said.

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