Published on: 11-05-2020

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May 11, 2020

The TIAFT Mid-Year Board Meeting was held virtually over four days in early May. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, one of the major topics was the 2020 TIAFT Conference scheduled for early November. After discussions with Alicia Evans (the South African Regional Representative and 2020 Host), the Board made the exceedingly difficult decision to postpone the conference in Cape Town until October of 2021. In the end, the health and well-being of our members and attendees was the most important consideration. You will begin to hear more about the rescheduled Cape Town Meeting directly from Alicia in the coming weeks.

We know this decision impacts future meeting, so we also reviewed information (e.g., signed contracts, paid invoices, availability of facilities, etc.) provided by all hosts to assess exactly how they will be impacted. Ideally, we hoped to push all meetings back one year, but it became clear to the Board that this was not quite so simple. As you know, many times our association’s conferences are held jointly with our sister organizations that have made contractual commitments of their own for years beyond when they plan to merge with the TIAFT conference. And sometimes, organizers have arranged for special events and opportunities that would be lost if they were forced to another year. These factors were also considered. I say this because the movement of the TIAFT Conference in Cape Town means there will need to be adjustments in the timing and the order of future meetings that were already awarded. We are still determining the exact order and will communicate those changes to the membership when they are resolved.

This postponement also negates our ability to have a TIAFT 2020 Business Meeting and hold elections for new Board members. According to the TIAFT Constitution, Business meetings must occur “during the TIAFT Conference” and the elections are to be held “during the annual Business meeting”. This is not unprecedented; in 2017, the Boca Raton SOFT/TIAFT conference and Business meeting were postponed until 2018. I mention this only for transparency and to make it known to the membership that the Board will be continuing in their current roles for another year.

With this extra time, the Board plans to continue to work to improve areas of TIAFT that we collectively believe need attention. One area we have committed to address is with TIAFT website: both the public-facing side, as well as the private Members’ Area. The Communications Committee is testing a beta version of a revised TIAFT homepage. They hope to have that ready for the membership later this year. The Board also recognizes that the Members’ Area is outdated and difficult for members to navigate. Therefore, the Board has agreed to make this improvement a top priority. We hope to be able to deliver a product that allows for easier access to the great resources we already have for our members, such as: past issues of the TIAFT Bulletin, handbooks for our TIAFT committees, access to the online lectures for TIAFT Members, and the excellent glossary of terms drafted by Wayne Jones.

I will close by thanking you all for your understanding given the challenging times we are all facing.

Marc LeBeau, PhD
President, TIAFT