Those of you who know me were likely unsurprised when I became Chair of the SENSE Executive Committee (EC) in March 2022. I had been a member for well over ten years, attended lots of events, been a regular presenter and a SIG convener. I was also vocal at general meetings and active on the Forum. In sum, a familiar face who cared about SENSE, its members and the quality of professional English in the Netherlands.
But of course, serving on a committee has to fit in with the rest of your life. While I can just about plan EC business around my job and personal life and other volunteering commitments, I sometimes feel the frustration of not being able to do more. In an ideal world, an organization such as SENSE has someone at the helm who can lead the way, inspire others, innovate, make connections, be on top of trends in the language industry, and maintain regular contact with other SENSE volunteers. But we also need to be practical – that’s just not feasible for most people, and so – like other EC members – I do as much as I can.
Over the past year, the EC has nevertheless accomplished quite a lot. I am most proud of the fact that we are a stable team with all EC and Team Leader (TL) positions filled. It’s also good to see the EC making progress on two long-term projects that are essential to the running of SENSE but perhaps less visible to the wider membership. Firstly, the repercussions for SENSE of the WBTR legislation have required careful consideration. Discussions on this started before I joined the EC and will likely continue for several months. One major consequence is that the EC now has just five members, and this means that EC meetings have more of a focus on Society business, such as management, compliance and finances, and less on event planning for example. Outside these meetings, we get a considerable amount done online together with the leaders of the Content team, Social Media team, CPD team, SIG and Social Events team, and Website team.
The second longer-term project that is taking shape is the website – this needs a revamp but also a major update to the underlying software. Because this will be a pricy undertaking, we don’t want to make any hasty decisions, but we’re hoping to have most of the work done by the end of 2023. I’ve had contact with web support companies and web managers of other societies, for example, to get a better idea of how to approach things and support our Web Manager with this project.
What else have I been up to since becoming Chair? Well I’ve been chairing the EC meetings (held every two months), and I chaired the Annual General Meeting for members in March; I was active in finding SENSE members willing to sit on the EC or become a Team Leader; I’ve met with people from other professional societies, such as NEaT, EASE, iPED, MET, NGTV, VZV, and VViN; and I’ve helped finalize the Dutch Convenant available in our Library and commission and review an English translation of it.
I also set up a new free event for members called SENSE Orientation which we hope to hold twice a year, alternating between in person and online. Attendees can familiarize themselves with our Society and hear how to get the most out of the SENSE membership – the next session is on 2 September in Utrecht.
To summarize, the first year and a bit has gone by pretty quickly, and I’m really enjoying working together with other enthusiastic volunteers to get things done within SENSE – each in our own way of course. I’m encouraged to see that many SENSE members are once more coming along to in-person gatherings in this post-Covid era, and I hope that some will also be willing to come forward with new ideas and enthusiasm to shape the future of our Society as we adapt to changing times.
Blog post by: Sally Hill