By Susan Lichtenfels, President-Elect
I wish to open this article by extending my sincerest thanks and appreciation to the membership of PCB for electing me as your next President. I am honored to have your support and will give all I can to insure the success of PCB. President Swartz has made every effort to insure I am well informed about the day-to-day administration of PCB and our on-going advocacy initiatives. He has been a great mentor and remains a trusted advisor. I am also fortunate to have the support of a talented and committed board of directors that will work hard to carry out PCB’s mission.
As we transition to my leadership, there are two strategic efforts I wish to explain and for which I seek you’re participation.
First, PCB will shift its work structure from that of committees to one of leadership teams. During my eight years within PCB leadership, I served at some point or another on eleven committees. This has given me quite a familiarity with the work flow, project focuses, and recurring challenges within our current committee structure. Our new team approach will be more project focused and will spread out the workload among more members who will be an integral part of accomplishing the team’s purpose.
Some former committees with similar work areas have been combined into one work team. For example, the Bylaws and Resolutions Committees will be combined into the Parliamentary Team. Likewise, the Public Awareness and Relations, Content, and Website Committees will become the Communications Team. The Organizational Development Team will take the place of the Long Range Planning Committee while the Vision Loss Resource Team expands the efforts of what was the Low-Vision Committee. Other teams are primarily the same with some tweaking to insure their purpose is more aligned with PCB’s mission.
With the new team approach, many processes will stay the same. Teams will meet on a monthly basis via the conference call line. Communication and work between meetings will still be vital to each team’s success. An email listserv will enable discussions and updates throughout the month.
As always, all members of PCB are welcomed and encouraged to join a work team. A list of the PCB Leadership Teams is published in this edition of The PCB Advocate. If you have a telephone and a desire to assist other people with vision loss, surely there is a PCB project with which you can help. Please contact me or the Team’s Leader to express your interest in joining or learning more.
The second strategic initiative PCB will be undertaking in the transition to my leadership is closely related to the work of our Leadership Teams. For many years PCB’s work has been without clear direction and planning toward specific goals. While we have made some accomplishments toward our mission, the bulk of our work has fallen into a year-by-year routine driven by the complacency to do what we’ve always done. If we lived and advocated in a stagnant world that approach might be successful. But we don’t. We are all aging and we need to find new ways to engage the younger generations on terms they understand. Technology has given us more independence than ever, and yet for some, the gap continues to widen. Individuals and foundations are not giving financially like they used to. For these and many other reasons, I am initiating the development of a strategic plan for PCB.
The first step in the planning is conducting a SWOT analysis of the organization. SWOT represents the four areas of focus: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The idea is to generate as much feedback as possible so that common themes can emerge, priorities determined, action steps outlined, and an overall plan developed. The strategic plan will guide the work of our Leadership Teams and keep us on course for future success and growth.
While I value the advice and opinions of those in leadership positions, when generating ideas for the future direction of PCB, I believe there is no substitute for the direct, boots-on-the-ground feedback of our individual members. And so, I am asking that each member of PCB please spend a few minutes over the next month thinking about what ideas and concerns you have about PCB. Please take the time to complete the SWOT Survey published in this issue. For those with internet access, an anonymous survey is online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/pcbswotsurvey. Individuals without access to the internet should feel free to write the questions in Braille or print along with your feedback and send it to the PCB office. We will be collecting feedback from now through the end of January. Once we receive the surveys, the responses will be collated and shared with the PCB Board of Directors who will shape the data into our strategic plan.
In closing I extend my sincerest appreciation to Cathy Long for her two decades of service in the office of Secretary. Cathy has shown true dedication to improving the lives of people with vision loss through both her professional and personal endeavors. Although Cathy will be stepping down from her board position at the close of 2015, she will continue on as a valued member of several PCB Leadership teams. Thank you to Cathy and to each and every member of PCB who works hard to insure the success of this worthy organization. I am honored to lead you.