Published on: 18-01-2020

Photo by Jude Beck on

January 15, 2020

Well, we made it! It is now officially the decade of the 2020’s. Happy New Year to all our TIAFT friends! I hope you had some time to relax over the holiday season and that your year is off to a fabulous start!

As many of us do at the New Year, we make resolutions for improvements in the coming year. As I mentioned in last year’s message, research has found that when we share our resolutions with others, we become more accountable and are more likely to follow through with them. So, let’s see if research is right and check on how we did with my shared 2019 resolutions for TIAFT.

Last year, I resolved that TIAFT would do a better job of listening to the membership. Throughout 2019, the Board actively encouraged feedback on the proposed revision to the TIAFT Constitution, we continued the use of Town Hall sessions at Regional TIAFT Meetings to allow for attendees at those meetings to provide comments on the organization’s activities, and we consistently acted on concerns and ideas received from members by ensuring they were put onto the agenda of the Board’s monthly meetings. A good example of this occurred when a suggestion was made by one of the TIAFT Regional Representatives as a cost-saving measure to allow for Standard and Honorary members to have the option to only receive the electronic version of the TIAFT Bulletin. This idea was approved at the Board’s next monthly meeting. So now, the personal information page on the TIAFT Members Area of Standard and Honorary Members has a checkbox to option out of receiving the mailed copy of the TIAFT Bulletin. Should you later decide you want the hardcopy again; all you need to do is uncheck the box!

We also resolved to be more inclusive in 2019. As promised, we increased the number of travel grants to attend the 2019 Annual Meeting in Birmingham and further improved the selection process for those grants by making it more heavily based on financial need. We also made a strong effort to encourage members from countries that had never hosted the meeting before (or had not done so for quite some time) to volunteer to do so. At the Annual Business Meeting in Birmingham, members heard pitches to host the 2023 and 2024 annual meetings in Canada, China, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Ultimately, only two locations could be selected, but it was wonderful to see so many different countries willing to step forward to host the event that is the highpoint for TIAFT each year. We encourage those not selected to try again for an upcoming annual meeting.

And last, we resolved to become more “fit” as an organization. We accomplished this by finalizing two very important documents. One provides details on how TIAFT will organize and archive its foundational and financial records. The other provides direction on how TIAFT will more consistently hold its elections. These documents will be put to the test this year as they become fully implemented. So overall, I have to say that we did quite well on our 2019 TIAFT Resolutions.

But what about 2020? This is a big year for our organization, so I want to share this year’s resolutions to help ensure that we, the TIAFT Board, follow through with them.

Finish All Items on the 2018-2020 TIAFT Strategic Plan
By now you should know that the 2015-2017 TIAFT Board of Directors initiated a process to ensure continuity from one board to the next by drafting some high-level goals for the next incoming Board. The current Board took those goals and added detail as to how they would be achieved. Thus was born the 2018-2020 TIAFT Strategic Plan. Throughout the last two years, you have heard (and read) my many updates on the Board’s progress toward the strategic plan. As we have now reached our final year for the current Board, we will strive to complete ALL the items we promised to do back in early 2018 immediately after the elections in Boca Raton.

Encourage Participation in the Historical 2020 Annual TIAFT Conference
This year also marks a milestone for TIAFT. For the first time in the organization’s history, we will have our annual conference on the African continent. The 2020 TIAFT Conference will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in early November and we want to make an extra effort to encourage as many as possible to participate in the celebration of this event.

Ensure Fair and Successful Elections of the Next TIAFT Board
During the Cape Town TIAFT Meeting, we will hold our 2020 Annual Business Meeting during which the election of the 2021-2023 TIAFT Board will occur. We resolve to ensure that the 2020 elections have strong candidates that represent the organization and that the elections are fair for all involved. With that in mind, now is the time to start thinking about who YOU think may be best for the positions of President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and general Board members. In just a few months, we will officially call for nominations to take place.

So, there are my resolutions for TIAFT for 2020! At the end of this year, I hope we can look back at these goals and see if we were once again successful in seeing them through.

Marc LeBeau, PhD
President, TIAFT