Question #5: SLA is an international organization. How can SLA involve and reach out more to members outside of North America?
Stacey Greenwell, Candidate for Division Cabinet Chair-Elect
The question begins with: "SLA is an international organization." We are international, and we are proud of that. Yet sometimes we seem to forget that. I cannot count the number of times I have corrected colleagues, friends, or unit members when they say "national headquarters," "national conference," etc. I have not heard "Winter Meeting" in quite some time, so we are making progress.
So one important aspect in involving more members outside of North America is to continue to actively promote that we are an international organization. That's something to be proud of, and that's one of the reasons I am involved in SLA. I find it far more interesting to learn with information professionals from around the world who work in a wide variety of environments than to be involved with a much more narrowly focused group. If we are all thinking internationally, our actions will be focused in a way that include members around the world.
One of those actions is of course utilizing various technologies to help connect members around the world. Many of us stay connected post-conference via social media; some days I chat more with a friend in New Zealand than I do with colleagues down the hall. Webinars and Skype sessions also help in reducing physical distances. I recently attended SLA Europe's Meet the President-Elect Candidates event as the time worked better for me than sessions offered by U.S. chapters. We need to continue taking advantage of these technologies to communicate and collaborate with our colleagues around the world.
In addition to staying connected via various technologies year round, we need to make sure our face-to-face time at Annual Conference and Leadership Summit remains valuable. Members outside of North America often travel great distances to participate in SLA activities, so we need to be aware of that and make the most of those face-to-face opportunities through excellent programming and networking.
SLA's international focus is one of its greatest strengths, and we need to continue supporting and growing our membership around the world.