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President's Column Redux

Eden King

The original version of this column, drafted in January, began, “Wow, what a year! I’m grateful for this opportunity to reflect on the experience of being your president over the past year.” These words take on a new meaning as I revise this column on the day when the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States surpassed those of every other country.

In times of crisis, Mr. (Fred) Rogers gently encouraged children to, “Look for the helpers.” My daughters and I have been talking about the farmers, medical professionals, janitors, police officers, firefighters, grocery store workers, and delivery service providers who are helping to take care of us. Today, my girls are going to make a “thank you” sign to put in our window in honor of these heroes.

I’d like to use this article as my personal THANK YOU sign to the helpers inside of SIOP. Some of these folks have taken on the very important and visible task of responding to the cancellation of our conference; the emergency task force members Scott Tonidandel, Elizabeth McCune, and Alexis Fink. These folks have taken on the enormous volunteer role of planning our beloved conference not just once (a herculean task in and of itself) but now, in fact, twice. Less visible but equally critical are the conference subcommittees who are working to find innovative strategies for sharing content like the Theme Track (Chair Emily Solberg), Consortia (Consortium Chair Debbie DiazGranados), Workshops (Chair Rob Michel), and Placement Center (Co-Chairs Amber Burkhart and Gonzalo Ferro) committees.

Moreover, SIOPers have stepped up to help not only our professional community but also society at large. Even as we were working to unwind Austin activities, volunteers in the Education and Training Committee (Portfolio Officer Marcus Dickson) were creating webinars, holding virtual office hours, and creating materials to help IO educators transition to online learning environments (https://www.siop.org/GIT-Blog/entryid/253). Our membership committee (Chair Tiffany Poppelman) was creating a strategic communication plan to continue to offer value to our members. Volunteers in the Professional Practice Portfolio (Officer Tracy Kantrowitz) were synthesizing and cultivating summaries of our science on remote work (https://www.siop.org/Business-Resources/Remote-Work). I’m sure there are amazing things happening that I don’t even know about it. I couldn’t be prouder.

Additionally, if any of you have had the pleasure of working with the staff in SIOP’s Administrative Office, it will come as no surprise to you that our dedicated staff has more than stepped up to the challenges we are facing. This small but mighty core of SIOP continues to not only support but also inspire all of the work that we do together. Their ongoing efforts ensure SIOP’s bright future, and we are truly lucky to have them.

When you receive this, my year as president will be nearly over. Yet, I am certain that the gratitude I feel for our community will persist long after my term ends.

And, like Mr. Rogers said, I’ll be so very glad when we’re together again.


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