Message from the IEEE Region 8 Director

Stasopoulos 2015 like every New Year presents new beginnings, new challenges and new opportunities within the global IEEE community. These may vary across the Regions as needs and resources also vary across IEEE’s spectrum of activities and presence around the world. But united under one core purpose and mission to “foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity”, each Region should take upon this opportunity to evaluate the past, rethink for the future and realign strategies, goals and directions. This of course can get challenging for IEEE Region 8, which is the biggest Geographic Region and the most diverse one. But we feel happy and privileged to take upon this challenge, as our Region brings together people from across many different geographic, ethnic and religious boarders. Throughout the years Region 8 has repeatedly proven that diversity can lead to creativity, innovation and fruitful collaborations. What has contributed to this success which I would like to stress as of utmost importance for the coming months is that we all work as a team and we aim at one thing: to provide service to our members and to humanity as a whole.

So having all of the above as an appropriate underlying framework, what are some key opportunities or focus areas for IEEE Region 8 for the year 2015?

Getting closer to Industry

As more than 50% our members work in the Industry (as opposed to Academia), we need to focus on the needs of the contemporary and future engineers and related professionals and define new IEEE products and services that support them and stimulate their interest. This action will aim to activate IEEE relevance to industry in Region 8. In order to achieve this we will need change within IEEE, we will need to rejuvenate IEEE involvement with Industry, enhance engagement with Sections throughout the R8 and appoint active Industry Ambassadors. We have set up a strong “Action for Industry” committee. The task is challenging but the potential is great. Commitment, open mindedness, collaborative spirit and the support from the whole community are vital for its success. Chapters and Affinity groups can contribute to this and new ways of collaboration must be explored.

Students and Young Professionals

Students and Young professionals are in the heart of Region 8. Having recognised that the quality of their experience within the association can determine and even shape the future of IEEE, we need to inspire them and find new ways to appeal to them. The first step is already accomplished; we have set up very strong and potent teams in our Students and Young Professionals Committees. The next objective is to make sure that these committees are truly dedicated and have all possible tools, resources and support available to them, so as to effectively direct their efforts towards increased activities with special emphasis on added value to membership. It is of great importance that we plan various Regional Congresses, that will aim to stimulate and inspire the student community and also provide them with plenty of opportunities for interchange of ideas and friendships. Region 8 has had several extremely successful experiences in the area of Student Regional Congresses and we are very proud that we have actually started to be used as a Model by various USA Regions planning similar actions. But success is not a title or a privilege and it is surely not given. Every event needs to be carefully planned with the following key objectives: to find new ways to motivate our members, create new competitions and find ways for a smooth transition from students to Young Professionals. Chapters, Affinity groups and Sections will play a vital role here.

Section Vitality

Section vitality is the corner stone of all activities. We need to have alive and active Sections in order to have and maintain the Chapters, Affinity groups and Student Branches. This has been long recognised of course, but a more dedicated and focused initiative started as of last year and I would like to see this to continue strongly into 2015 as well. The aim here is to drive efforts, ideas and resources into the empowerment and rejuvenation of Sections in order to help them and motivate them to become more active and more diverse. Again, in order to be successful in something as big as this, a large number of volunteers will need to be stirred and motivated for action. We have started with a top down approach and looking for effective and inspiring leadership to take it from there. Executive committees should be a mixture of young and old, academic and Industry people from various areas of the Section. All the appointed positions should be filled with capable people. The Chapter, Affinity group and Branch chairs should be invited to the Executive committee meetings. Sometimes it is hard to find the right or any volunteers but if we create that right mix of professionalism, technical knowledge and social atmosphere we can achieve it.

I urge you all as IEEE members both at local and regional level to take active part in IEEE to make the world a better place for all.

Costas Stasopoulos
IEEE Region 8 Director 2015-2016