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Organizational Resilience in Action: #SIOP20

Less than 2 months ago, at the beginning of March, our volunteer leadership, Conference Committee, and the entire SIOP community, with support from the Administrative Office staff, were entering the home stretch of preparation for the 35th Annual SIOP Conference in Austin, Texas.

Then, history began unfolding around the globe and in the United States as the coronavirus pandemic brought the country almost to a standstill. With large gatherings prohibited to limit the spread of the virus, SIOP cancelled the eagerly anticipated in-person annual event.

SIOP’s concern for the health and well-being of members and their loved ones is paramount. Our community is resilient and committed to sharing I-O research and best practices through convening. So, just 7 weeks later, SIOP is once again entering the last phases of preparation for hosting the SIOP Annual Conference, virtually. On Thursday, April 16, the SIOP 2020 Program Emergency Task Force invited the submitters of presentations accepted for the Austin event to opt in to present in the 2020 SIOP Virtual Conference, June 16-30, 2020.

Submitters were asked to confer with their presenters to decide whether they could participate, and if so, to opt-in through the conference submission portal by April 24. Submitters who choose not to participate do not need to take any action. Find more information in a FAQ and presenter toolkit on the conference information site. Already we have received notice from more than 150 sessions opted-in to the virtual conference program!

Currently there are more than 1,250 people registered for the virtual conference by way of registration transfers from the Austin event. Registration is set to re-open for new registrants very soon. Much is yet to be done before the #SIOP20 Virtual Conference makes organizational history, but we are on the path!

We have come this far because of the skillful guidance and thoughtful, concentrated work of the SIOP 2020 Program Emergency Task Force. Conference Chair Scott Tonidandel, Program Chair Elizabeth McCune, and Conferences and Programs Officer Alexis Fink are working late nights, early mornings, and weekends to create the virtual conference blueprint, in close consultation with the Executive Board and Administrative Office.

Program Chair McCune expressed gratitude to all the members and conference registrants who reached out with suggestions, ideas, notes of solidarity, and offers of help. “While we were the decision makers, we heard from dozens of people and that really did influence our thinking.”

One of the first things the task force did was create a matrix of guiding principles, which have and will continue to inform all subsequent efforts.

SIOP 2020 Program Emergency Task Force Guiding Principles



The good work submitted, curated, and peer-reviewed by our valued members

The vital role of community-building that the Annual Conference fulfills for SIOP

The diversity of member needs and preferences, especially in a time of crisis


Fairness and transparency in decision making

Openness to innovation and experimentation

Awareness of precedent-setting for SIOP’s future


The integrity of SIOP 2021 program development

The capacity of our volunteers and staff

The conference revenue on which SIOP so critically relies



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