What SLA Toronto Did On Its Summer Vacation
I don’t know about you, but I still function on an academic calendar, and for me, September marks the real “new year” and an excellent opportunity to pause and take stock of the progress we’ve made so far. As this is the Summer issue of The Courier, it’s the perfect time to look back at the activities and accomplishments of the Toronto Chapter and its members over the past few months.
In May, President-Elect Laura Warner hosted the bi-annual Volunteer Appreciation Event, which would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship of our partner, Thomson Reuters. The event, a cocktail reception at the Cajun-inspired Southern Accent in Mirvish Village, took place on the evening of May 31st and celebrated the contributions of over 40 SLA volunteers. It was a great success and a terrific way to kick off summer!
The SLA Annual Conference took place in Philadelphia from June 12-15th. Several SLA Toronto members were recognized at this year’s conference for their contributions to the SLA community. Melanie Browne, co-Chair of the Toronto West Subgroup, received the award for Best Contributed Paper. Her paper, “Communicating Value Through Strategic Alignment” has been published in the July/August 2011 issue of Information Outlook and is a great example of the power of strategic alignment.
Martha Foote, who currently serves as Awards Chair for the Toronto Chapter and who chaired the Contributed Papers at this year’s conference, received an SLA Presidential Citation at the joint Chapter Cabinet and Division Cabinet meeting. The citations are granted to SLA members for a notable or important contribution during the previous year that enhanced the Association or furthered its goals and objectives. Daniel Lee, a Past-President of the Toronto Chapter and member of the SLA Board, was also recognized for his leadership on Operation Vitality, which has revitalized the unit websites. Please join me in congratulating and thanking Melanie, Martha and Daniel.
The Toronto Chapter also hosted the annual Canadian Reception at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on June 13th, together with our friends and partners CEDROM-SNi, whose generosity made this event a resounding success. Joining me to represent the Toronto Chapter was President-Elect Laura Warner, Programming Director Elysia Guzik, Partner Relations Director Pam Casey, Secretary Emmeline Hobbs, and Technology Director Kim Silk. The event was attended by over 150 delegates. The Canadians turned out en masse, and we were joined by many of our friends from the United States and from around the world, as well as SLA CEO Janice LaChance and 2011 President-Elect Brent Mai.
And finally, on August 25th, Greg Barber hosted the annual Summer Social on the patio at L’espresso, on what turned out to be a glorious late-summer evening. Given that August is traditionally prime vacation-time, the strong turnout was impressive – the patio got very crowded very quickly! It was a great opportunity to meet new and prospective members, chat with friends, and enjoy one of the last long summer evenings. I think we will all miss those! (We won’t, however, miss the wasps who were attracted to the berries in the delicious house sangria!)
In closing, I’d also like to take this opportunity to share some of my reflections on the 2011 Conference. The mood at the conference was optimistic, positive, hopeful, and forward-looking. The Pennsylvania Convention Center hummed with activity from dawn to dusk. In most of the sessions I attended, the words “resilience” and “flexibility” cropped up. They are words I have used frequently myself when talking about our profession. Hearing them so often at the conference prompted me to really think about these related concepts, and what the qualities of flexibility and resilience mean to me.
I define resilience as the ability to rebound after a setback. Flexibility is about being able to roll with the punches, adapt to new situations, and to consider other points of view, even if (maybe especially if) you disagree. While I believe that we all have the capacity for increased flexibility and resilience, in times of uncertainty, our natural reaction is a primitive, instinctive one that biologists have dubbed “fight or flight.”
Fight or flight has ensured the survival of many species, ours included, for millennia. But mere survival is no way to live! Flexibility and resilience are the keys to moving from surviving to thriving. They are qualities that need to be cultivated. They need to be nurtured and encouraged. They need to be modeled. What I took away from this summer’s conference is that we need to create a culture of resilience and flexibility, every day, in the present, so that we can build a successful future together.
All the best for the “new year”,