As I start my term I would like to express how thrilled and honored I am to serve as president of the Society of Flavor Chemists (SFC; www.flavorchemist.org) this year. I’m flattered to be sharing the gavel with the men and women who have held this position before me and who have paved the way to make this great organization what it is today. I believe we have a great group of volunteers on our board and serving on our committees. These dedicated individuals are committed to the Society and the membership that they represent. I’m excited to be working with such a great group of professionals.
In the upcoming year my goals as president are very simple in theory, yet will be difficult to execute. The key to any good organization is communication. I intend on instituting a plan to build up communication within our organization, and with other industry groups as well. I have already starting by having multiple conversations with Dave Baines, president of the British Society of Flavourists, about how we can work together on a global level to share knowledge, promote the exchange of information, and to provide an avenue to flavor resources not currently available. I believe a new committee is in order with the right chairperson in place to focus on these key areas of interest.
Another key area of interest is the financial status of the SFC. For many years the Society has been operating on a very tight budget, which in these tough economic times could prove to be volatile. As president, I would be remiss in not addressing this problem head-on. In the economic climate that we find ourselves, this year will prove to be financially challenging. We witnessed this with our first meeting of the year in Chicago when we had to make some tough decisions and come up with a creative way of dealing with high catering and hotel fees. The board of directors and I decided to change the meeting from a dinner to a luncheon. This decision allowed us to keep some of the financial burden from our members. The good news is that the number of attendees increased from last year, with double the total number of members attending. The meeting was a success, still giving our members high quality education programs without breaking the bank. The board and I will further investigate creative ways in which to raise capital to secure the viability of our organization without increasing dues and meeting fees. We, like other organizations and companies, have many economic challenges ahead but I’m confident that we will overcome them.
Over the past few years it has been a challenge to get new members actively involved in the Society. This is a problem that will need to be addressed during my term as well. We as an organization will have to work harder to promote total involvement from our members. I will institute a plan that will encourage our Society members to step up and get involved in our organization. We have a number of committees that would welcome the help, especially the symposium committee that has been working very hard this past year on establishing a high quality educational program to ensure a successful upcoming event. Our organization is made up of the membership, and it is the membership that will sustain it for years to come. I would encourage all members to take pride in the Society that has been the very foundation on which we built our careers. I’m looking forward to a very productive and rewarding year, and I thank you all for your support.