Diane Wood started out as an SCI Member and now works for the Society providing support and customer care. Here she tells us about how she came to be involved with us and how important her role is to SCI.
Diane, tell us about yourself and
what you do for SCI
DW: I went to Robert Gordon’s University in Aberdeen to study biology and biological sciences and followed this with a postgraduate diploma from the Royal Microscopical Society in Oxford. I worked on a variety of research projects as an electron microscopist at a human and animal nutritional institute and have been involved with the Scottish Microscopy Group.
How did you first come across
DW: My husband went to university in Bristol and studied chemistry; this was where he became involved with SCI’s Bristol Region. Later when we moved to Scotland, he got involved with the Scotland Regional Group. It was his involvement that landed me with the role of SCI Scotland Section co-ordinator, representing SCI at conferences in the region.
What did that role entail?
I used to take the SCI stand and any freebies and represent the Society at conferences and meetings. One of the highlights was being invited to the first Scotland Science and Parliament meeting nine years ago. Now it is an annual event and takes place in Dynamic Earth each year with eminent politicians getting together to discuss science. And we still get invited.
How has your involvement progressed?
From being the Scotland co-ordinator, I went on to work in the SCI’s Membership Department dealing with corporate membership, then onto membership development and now I work in member services and customer care.
Could you explain a little more
about the role you do for us now?
DW: I contact SCI’s new members with a welcome call ensuring we have their correct information and that they have their membership number and all other membership information. I follow-up in six months to check that everything is going well with their membership and then usually check in with them again prior to renewal. The work I do forms part of the Membership Retention plan for SCI’s Membership and aims to ensure our members, particularly new joiners, are making the best of what we have to offer, from the very first year of taking up Membership.
Generally what sort of feedback
do you get from those you call?
DW: The members seem to like chatting to ‘the person with the Scottish accent’ and also like the fact that it’s normally me they talk to, giving them continuity. I like to build up a rapport with them and remember them when I call back six months later. The calls aren’t all just about SCI business and sometimes I can end up talking about their holidays, children – anything!
What do you enjoy most about this role?
I enjoy chatting to all the different members all over the world. Being a chatty person helps to make friends, even if I’ve never met them! I was once asked by the head of an American pharmaceutical company to come and join a party playing golf at St Andrews - that’s what talking can get me into!
How do you feel your role assists
DW: From the feedback I have received, the members love the fact that SCI makes the effort to contact them personally and then follows up at intervals. Many of the other societies they sign up with do not do this. From SCI’s perspective, my role ensures that if for any reason there is a problem, it can be identified straightaway and resolved, and therefore maintain our level of standards through the service we provide.