Educating, connecting and growing the evolving elastomer community

Chair’s Corner

2021 Chair – Kim Dempsey-Miller

Kim's theme for 2021 is Embrace When It Happens.

2020 took us beyond the fringe of our routines and plans. The most challenging  aspect was how we had to reimagine the way we engage one another. Shrouded in masks and keeping our distance, we were forced to embrace Zoom to save and share face. While most of us weren't prepared or even considered how not to socialize in person or to remain functional outside of our normal paradigms, we in fact learned how to embrace change because we had to when things changed. In 2021, let’s be reminded to embrace our circumstances when they happen. Let's make the best of what comes!

Moving forward…my goals this year are simple:

We will develop and execute a viable three-year strategic plan. Implementation of our last strategic plan taught us a very important lesson…change is not only evolutionary, but also revolutionary. To remain viable to our industry, we must establish goals that are well defined, measurable and achievable. To that end, and with the assistance of a professional strategic planning facilitator experienced in working with nonprofit organizations like Rubber Division, ACS, our focus is being realigned and our target set on accomplishing a few things (as opposed to many) that bring value to our organization.

The rubber industry, like others, is an amalgam of many parts and much like children, it takes a village to grow an industry. Concurrently, I endeavor to channel our collective energies into expanding our portfolio of educational resources to meet the needs of multi-tiered experience levels across multi-disciplines within the industry.

Some of our past keynote speakers have been from industries other than our own where advances in rubber science and technology have provided solutions. It made me wonder why our member body is so grass roots and not more cross-disciplinary. As solution providers, we shall endeavor to create a network whereby essential information is harnessed for the development of elastomeric articles needed towards the commercialization of products used in other industries.

Investment in technical platforms that insure and or improve our ability to actively engage our community and industry partners is a no-brainer. Like the Rubber Zone? If you do, it’s because our staff had the foresight to encourage the board to invest in a platform that increases community engagement…and why stop there? While that event was planned, the pandemic caught us by surprise; coercing us into a virtual conference and onto a technical platform we had limited time to research. As our Executive Director said, “Never again!” We will plan to research additional platforms that afford us greater flexibility and opportunities for engaging our industry members.