Feb 13, 2019

The Society’s four regional directors attended and helped lead a Regional Membership Council (RMC) meeting at the IES headquarters in New York City on December 14, 2018. The group’s goal is to bolster communication between IES Sections and the Society’s Board and staff members.

Seven of the eight IES District Chairs and Vice District Chairs were also in attendance at the meeting. “Uniquely, all of these leaders have been involved in the IES on a Section level, first as members, then as officers and then as Regional and District volunteer leaders. Because of this, they truly represent the members of the IES,” says South Regional Director Billy Tubb.

“Most IES members have likely never heard of the RMC, let alone understand what this meeting is about,” adds North Regional Director Rick Paradis. “This Council is composed of the Regional Directors, District Chairs and District Vice Chairs—aka the regional leadership teams. The purpose is to collectively discuss what our Section officers are telling us about their pain points, regarding providing value and service to IES Members. We act as middle management between the Sections and the Board and work with staff to put forth ideas and initiatives to address the various tactical issues. While regional cultural differences abound on what type of meeting ‘works’ best, there are commonalities to management, planning and paperwork that can addressed and shared amongst the RMC attendees.”

The first RMC meeting to take place in a number of years “marked the beginning of an effort to provide the Board and IES staff a continuous line of communication from the District and Regional level in order to improve the BOD’s and IES staff’s ability to support our local Sections and membership,” says West Regional Director Antonio Giacobbe. “The reforming or reconvening of the RMC comes about as we close out the third year of the five-year strategic plan the IES BOD and staff started in 2015. This plan has led to the numerous services and initiatives that have strengthened the Society’s ability to support and ultimately grow our membership, and as we look forward to 2020, it’s clear that more change (and support) will be coming to our Society. The RMC’s goal is to effectively communicate these coming changes and initiatives consistently, so our membership can maximize their efforts and time most effectively.”

The meeting included an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats at the Section level, as well as “next steps” for the RMC. “Communication is key to the success of our Sections and the IES has taken steps needed to open the lines of communication with our Section leadership,” says Midwest Regional Director Michelle (Shelly) Prew. “The RMC is making a commitment to and investing in our leaders to promote the growth of leadership at the Section level and encourage volunteers to step up. As a volunteer organization, it is key to provide solutions to minimize the demand on our time, which only helps when seeking out new volunteers. Pulling the Regional/District leadership together to collaborate efforts on best practices to stay connected and ease the burdens on the Sections will only strengthen the Society. This collaborative effort will bring even more value to the ‘benefits’ of belonging to the IES as we focus on the beliefs and core values of the Society.”

Paradis agrees: “Without communication through the various leadership teams, the lone voice of a single member might go unnoticed. The BOD focuses on the strategic direction for the Society; the RMC team focuses on issues that plague each Section. We can only be effective if everyone communicates and knows that we are there to make their time as volunteer leaders of the Society easier and successful. It takes time to put new processes and procedures in place to deal with common issues, but without the RMC and the voice of the Sections, issues can potentially go unheard and time and effort will be spent in other areas.”