Interview with Joanne Lyall, SCI Executive Director, 2010 - 13

9 Dec 2010

In the six months since Joanne Lyall was appointed Executive Director of SCI, she has launched a new business plan for 2011-13.

Now that you have drafted a plan, what are the challenges in implementing it?
JL: We now need to prioritise new projects to be undertaken, bearing in mind our limited, existing resources. We will also work actively to increase our revenue to invest in growth. People want to join or interact with an active, visible organisation, which has a positive impact on society.

Will SCI's focus change?
JL: We are trying to harness activity around the societal themes of food, water, environment, waste, energy and health. In the future, we envisage groups could contribute more effectively to this market focus by working together, in the way that they are already starting to do with the Agri-Food Hub.

What have you been doing to engage with members?
JL: I have launched an online Executive Director's Forum, where I'm sharing information and responding to queries and feedback from members. We have also published a summary of the business plan on the SCI website.

I have also been actively engaging with members at the Committee Day (September) and the Members' Forum (November). I have been meeting our active members in committee meetings of technical and regional groups - I have already visited the America International Group, Yorkshire and the Humber, and attended the Chinese UK annual event in October, plus I have a series of group meetings lined up in December-January. I am trying to enthuse members to engage in delivering the objectives in the business plan by becoming ambassadors and helping introduce SCI to key influencers in their sectors or regions.

How would you like SCI's members to get involved?
JL: I would strongly encourage all members who haven't yet engaged with SCI to take the first step. In being part of a membership organisation, the more you contribute, the more you benefit - active members benefit tangibly from SCI knowledge and networks, and that is why they keep on participating and bring others into SCI. All members can contribute to achieving SCI's objective of enabling knowledge exchange (whether it be by writing or reviewing articles for our journals and Chemistry & Industry magazine; submitting nominations for awards; organising and taking part in conferences; and participating in our website's online forums and social media activities). I would ask members to let us know what they think about our plans so they can shape and influence SCI's future direction.

What are the challenges for SCI in the future?
JL: We need to embrace technology to make the most of our global connections. We need to do more to enable online connectivity and to reach out to our members, through a protected and secure online community. We are also planning tailored services to engage the next generation. We need to provide further support to those who have recently launched their careers to establish networks through SCI to advance their careers, whether this means to secure a job, to publicise their achievements, find business partners or secure funding for projects they are trying to get off the ground.

We also need to develop SCI's influence by recruiting and interacting with key business leaders and influencers in the chemistry-using industries.

SCI's governance has gone through a series of changes in recent years. Will we see more changes?
JL: A governance review is under way, and the Board of Trustees are focusing on promoting inclusiveness, transparency and communication, so we can expect more positive changes in the future.

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