I want to begin by saying it has been a pleasure to have served as president of the UBC PDA over the last year, and I am proud to have done so with such a dedicated executive team with a deep commitment to this association. This is my last The Buzz message to you as the PDA President. At the AGM that announces the results of our election on April 1st, 2015, I will hand over my role to the named successor, who will then serve the next year in leadership. For this last message, I want to communicate my thoughts about my time as President and tell you about some important accomplishments during my tenure.
I have faced some challenges, but overall, the PDA is heading into a very exciting and transformative period in its history. As an organization, the PDA has undergone tremendous growth this past year. Our current subscription to our newsletter stands at 191; up from 56 at this time in 2014. Our Facebook page following has experienced a 124% growth, and postdoctoral associations or societies from other institutions have begun to notice us and reach out to us.
We have offered many new benefits for our members, including professional development seminars on pursuing careers in academia and industry with a bend towards personal branding, and two workshops on financial literacy to learn how to make the most of what we earn as postdocs. We have expanded the content of our website with useful slides and audio or video recordings of our professional and educational events, and an option to sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Perhaps one of our greatest milestones was adopting a clear mandate to reach out to and engage with postdocs in the arts and humanities, engineering, and other non life science departments. The UBC PDA represents all UBC postdocs and research associates. Our advocacy work and events should include everyone in this broad community.
This past year also saw a terrible tragedy, with the loss of our colleagues and friends, Stephanie Grothe and Neil Mackenzie. As members of the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club, a fundraising campaign was set up for them where the proceeds went to the Search and Rescue community in British Columbia.
In the coming weeks we will see new faces among the PDA Executive Team, as the election comes to a close at the end of the month. I am confident that our new leaders will provide outstanding leadership in their roles for external relations, marketing and communications, and advocacy.
In closing this farewell message, I want to say that it has been a privilege and pleasure to have served as the UBC PDA President from 2014-2015. I wish to publicly thank my executive team members for their willingness to serve this association, and for the postdoc volunteers who undertook important work to ensure the smooth running of our academic events.
My appreciation goes to the devoted leaders from the Postdoctoral Fellows Office. Rachel Fernandez is our Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, whose enthusiasm and keen sense of humor brought a personalized meaning to faculty relations. Hourik Khanlian is ever enduring as Manager of Human Resources and Postdoctoral Affairs, not to mention one of the most compassionate HR managers I know. Jen Tooley, our past HR and Postdoctoral Affairs Assistant, has been a blessing to us, and as she moved on to new adventures, she has been thoroughly missed. We welcomed Sarah Henderson in her position, who is an amazing example of organizational talent. I appreciate all the work these individuals have done in support of postdocs and our association.
For providing knowledge and leadership at our various events and workshops, I want to acknowledge Michael Gold, Brian Duff, Nilly McCaffery, Ryan Howe, Alphil Guilaran, and the team at the Financial Literacy Counsel.
Finally, I want to thank all of you for supporting the UBC PDA and me during my term of office. I am proud of having served such a great community of young professionals. This is not goodbye – I feel I still have unfinished work, and will be providing leadership for hands-on workshops in entrepreneurship. For the immediate future, I will serve as Past-President and look forward to supporting the new leadership team. I give you my best, and wish you all tremendous success in whichever way you define it.
With warmest regards,