Roman Lanno, SETAC North America President

It’s been six months since the annual meeting in Sacramento, and you may be wondering what the SETAC North America Board of Directors (SNA BoD) has been up to during this time. The following article will provide a concise summary of some of the more important ongoing and future initiatives.

SETAC North America (SNA) is a mission-based organization with the main goal of providing a forum for discussing and disseminating scientific information and providing valued services for its members. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, our focus is not to turn a financial profit, but we recognize the need to secure financial resources sufficient to support our mission-based efforts. One of our major efforts this year is through the SNA Development Committee (DC) to move forward with a work plan for developing capacity in both financial and human resources. Spear-headed by Eric van Genderen, the SNA BoD liaison to the DC, he suggests that “In order to effectively and efficiently respond to all needs related to fundraising and volunteerism, SNA needs a formal Development Management system that provides comprehensive donor services, facilitated by an online support portal.” To this end, the DC has put forward an ambitious work plan, which engages SNA staff, DC members and an advisory committee comprising representatives from three other SNA committees: Training and Education, Meetings and Science. The ultimate goal of this plan is to develop a self-supporting development program that will be managed by SNA staff for the ongoing implementation of donor services and resource needs to efficiently manage and access membership information, meeting management, financial systems and long-range fundraising strategies. There are two components to this work plan: 1) designing and implementing a development management plan and 2) developing a support portal for information management. The first component involves the documentation and accumulation of data on past SNA fundraising and volunteer efforts, data analytics and the synthesis of this information into a development management plan. The ultimate goal is to hire an SNA Development Manager to implement and maintain the plan. Development of a support portal involves the collection of “user stories” to determine the information needs of SNA membership and staff, assess the functionality of various Client Resource Management (CRM) systems to meet SNA needs and the development of a business plan for the implementation of the support portal. The work plan is moving along on schedule with the goal of having a development program for donor services implementation in place and a proposal for a support portal business plan to the SNA BoD by early 2020.

There are also a couple of important projects that are continuing from last year – student member voting and the environmental risk assessment certification program. As you may remember, providing voting privileges to the SETAC North America Student Advisory Council (NASAC) Chair on the SNA BoD was put to an SNA membership vote last November and approved. That means that Leah Thornton, the current NASAC chair, recently cast the first vote by a student member on the SNA BoD. What an exciting moment in SNA history! SETAC has always been a forerunner among scientific societies in offering students opportunities for the development of scientific and leadership skills, and providing our student members with a voting voice on the BoD was a big step in developing student leadership. The other bit of news carrying over from last year is the progress on the development of a certification program in environmental risk assessment. This is now a global professional certification program and will be operated by an independent certification board that must meet the requirements of the nation where it is incorporated (e.g., in the USA it will be a 501[c]6). This program will be administered by a certification program manager and a request for proposals was put forth in February, with a closing date of 22 March, for bidders interested in working with SETAC to incorporate a certification board. Two proposals were received and these are currently being evaluated by SETAC World Council (SWC) members.

Understanding and expanding SETAC member resources is an extremely important facet of operating our society. There are a number of initiatives underway that facilitate this cause. Jeff Steevens, SNA BoD, is facilitating a “value proposition” initiative that seeks to understand what and how each group and demographic prioritizes the services and resources at SNA. To that end, he will be administering a survey to the membership to gain valuable insights to this question. Look for this survey in the near future and let us know what resources that SETAC provides are most important to you. SNA is also considering the proposal for an Inclusive Diversity Committee that would serve as a focal point for interaction among under-represented affinity groups (e.g., ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, physical or mental difference, religion, age or national origin). Inclusivity and diversity foster a collaborative, supportive and respectful environment that increases the participation and contribution of all members of SNA, while understanding, accepting and valuing differences among us.

Ahead of the SETAC North America 40th Annual Meeting, which will be held from 3–7 November in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, SNA has just approved an Indigenous Peoples Meeting Attendance Grant that will offer a registration waiver and US $500 towards travel to the Toronto meeting for successful applicants. SNA will also initiate a Dependent Care Program that will provide US $400 towards child care or dependent caregiver expenses for successful applicants attending the Toronto meeting. Information on these awards will soon be added to the meeting website.

Moving forward this year, there are two major initiatives that will occupy the SNA BoD. First, the most recent SNA Long-Range Plan (LRP) covers the years 2015–2020 is coming to an end. Developing a new LRP is the purview of the current SNA VP, Teresa Norberg-King, and the SNA BoD will be reviewing accomplishments in relation to the current LRP and moving forward with recommendations for the next LRP in the coming months. The second initiative is the development of a science communication and public outreach plan for SNA. SNA members understand the need for effective communication of our ideas and science, yet individual efforts are scattered throughout various committees and interest groups within SNA. A cohesive plan would allow a more uniform approach to our outreach and communication efforts. I hope to provide more information on this effort in the near future.

We’ve accomplished a lot in the last six months, and I’m hoping the next six months will be equally or more productive. Stay tuned!

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