Dr Jack Melling has been a member of SCI for nearly four decades. Since joining, he has committed time and effort to driving SCI's activities, starting as a committee member. Now the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, he shares his experiences of working with SCI and some ideas on his vision for its future.
From a very early stage, you became involved in committee work. What made you decide to get involved?
JM: I guess firstly, it was interesting. I really liked being involved in committee work. It was a way of getting SCI to support activities, particularly organising events. SCI provides a very valuable resource for its members. That resource, I think, comes into focus when one has the ability to interact with colleagues. It enables members to get involved in the whole area of knowledge transfer, not only within technical and regional interest groups, but also beyond the Society.
You stayed active in the Society despite a very busy international career, with senior placements in Europe and America. How did you manage to stay on top of your job and still keep contributing to SCI?
JM: Fortunately, it wasn't an 'either/ or' choice for me because SCI provided very valuable resources for my career. Many of the things I was doing along my career were also represented in my SCI activities, so I was lucky. I was able to combine what I was doing in SCI with my professional activities.
As you take the role of Chairman of the Board of Trustees, what do you think are SCI's priorities?
JM: I think we need to continue to maintain our financial stability. Look at other societies, those that have maintained their financial stability can continue to deliver the things that they need to deliver in the long term.
We also need to continue to make efforts to draw in more members. There are potentially many people who can benefit from participating in SCI, and we have to find ways to reach out and let them know what they can gain from being members. We must encourage members to become more actively involved in SCI. Individuals who are currently actively involved need to make a big effort to encourage other members and colleagues to participate. Perhaps those at an early stage in their careers cannot devote much time, but regional and technical interest groups and Advisory Committees would accept whatever form of involvement people can give.
What interests you about taking the role of Chairman of the Board of Trustees?
JM: It gives me an opportunity to try to push forward some of the things that I've just been describing. SCI needs to be outward looking, and interactive with other organisations, both in the UK and elsewhere. At the same time, it needs to serve members' interests and encourage members to be more active in the Society.
Finally, are you excited about taking on this role?
JM: Yes – we have many challenges, and it's going to be a very interesting time for me and the Board of Trustees as we respond to these challenges and develop an SCI for the future.
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