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Jenny Baker
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President’s Column: State of SIOP

Georgia T. Chao

I hope this column finds you safe and healthy. The pandemic, economic recession, and racial tensions continue to challenge our world. However, SIOP continues to work on behalf of our members to advance the field of I-O psychology, which is more relevant than ever in this changed world of work. Last month, a short video on the state of SIOP was sent to members. There is good news and bad news.

First, the bad news—SIOP is losing money due to the pandemic’s impact on our meetings. Much of our revenue comes from registration and sponsorship fees from these meetings. Our fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, resulted in a $58,000 loss, and we are operating with about a million-dollar deficit this year. The losses could have been far greater, but the Executive Board and Administrative Office continue to work hard to minimize them. 

Despite this financial challenge, we are cautiously optimistic for this new year. We don’t know how the pandemic or vaccine plans may affect life in 2021. Our 2021 annual conference is currently planned as a hybrid conference with in-person sessions as well as live video sessions and on-demand programming. We are monitoring the pandemic and hotel conditions to ensure that anyone who will be in New Orleans for the conference will be safe. That is our top priority. Final decisions for the conference format will be made in February.

Moving forward, there is good news that SIOP has been active on a number of fronts. We are much more than an annual conference! SIOP is structured with 9 portfolios, 42 committees, and many, many subcommittees, ad hoc committees, and task forces. We are fortunate to have about 1,000 volunteers working on SIOP’s behalf. To highlight some of our work within the past year, we have

  • Promoted I-O psychology to external audiences:
    • We’re working to help the federal government understand how I-O psychology can help improve aspects of (a) defense and security, (b) education and training, (c) health and well-being, and (d) diversity and inclusion. These are all nonpartisan issues that focus on our science and on evidence-based practices.
    • We have partnered with other organizations, like SHRM and APA’s military psychology division, to help veterans transition to the workforce.
    • SIOP is a nongovernmental organization with special consultative status with the United Nations. We work to include I-O topics in the UN’s Global Compact’s Sustainable Development Goals—particularly as they pertain to decent work.
    • The Education & Training Committee’s Bridge Builders initiative continues to introduce I-O psychology to high school students and undergraduates.
  • With a more internal focus, we continue to offer benefits for our members:
    • We issued an anti-racism statement and worked with the SIOP Foundation to fund several research projects with an Anti-Racism Grant initiative, with another round of grantmaking coming up soon.
    • Several committees offer virtual mentoring programs for practitioners, ethnic/minority groups, and women.
    • Our website has new resources for communities interested in ethics, future of work, LBGTQIA+, and getting more I-O content into general introductory psychology textbooks.
    • We have published several volumes in the Organizational Frontiers and Professional Practice series with several other volumes in planning and production stages.
    • TIP and the IOP journal continue to update members on SIOP and cutting-edge issues.
    • The three virtual workshops that were conducted this fall were successful and helped members receive CE credits.
    • We are designing implementation plans for our new anti-harassment policy to help ensure that our members are in a safe and professional environment.
  • Finally, for SIOP to continue to thrive as the preeminent professional organization for I-O psychology
    • The Executive Board has developed a new 3-year strategic plan, and we are working on specific actions to help SIOP achieve its goals.
    • The Support, Planning, and Research Committee (SPARC) and the Executive Board are developing new ideas to generate revenue for the Society while delivering value to members and those who benefit from I-O science and practice.

These activities only highlight some of SIOP’s work. Much has been done, and much remains to move forward. Whatever the “new normal” may be in the future, all of SIOP’s elected officers, committee chairs, volunteers, and staff are working hard to serve our profession and membership. I’d like to take this time to send BIG thank-yous to all of you who support SIOP!

For 2021, I wish you good health and well-being. I’m confident that together, we will MOVE FORWARD!

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