As my year as Chair draws to a close, my thoughts are on physics, rather than chemistry. Specifically, I have been thinking about the concept of momentum. In its simplest terms, momentum is the product of mass and velocity, and it can also be used to describe an individual, team or organization. In the book “Nine Lies About Work” by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall, the authors debunk what they see as the “Nine Lies” encountered in the workplace. Each “Lie” is given its own chapter and Chapter 7 addresses the lie that “people have potential”. The authors argue that assigning the term “potential” to some and not others is absurd. Potential is inherent in all of us and to say some have it and others do not would be equivalent to saying some of us are human while others are not. Indeed, in those terms it does sound ridiculous. They believe the better descriptor is momentum as it describes how we move through the world. The mass is our knowledge, and the velocity is how we have applied it. Like potential, we all have it, but it is in flux based on our own mass and velocity at a particular point in time.
When I look at the St. Louis Section, I see a local section with growing momentum. The mass is the knowledge that exists within each of our members and volunteers. The velocity is seen in the application of our knowledge throughout the course of the year. Two examples of areas with a high velocity at the moment are our educational outreach and career development programs. Thanks to a highly engaged and energetic group of volunteers, we are inspiring the next generation of scientists through events such as Chemistry Is pHun and the Scouting Merit Badge Clinic. Additionally, the Leadership Development Forum and monthly “Coffee and Cocktails” networking events are connecting more and more professionals to discuss today’s career opportunities and challenges.
Going into 2020 the momentum will continue. The St. Louis Section has been awarded a grant from National ACS to hold a strategic planning retreat, and we are one of a handful of local sections who have been selected to hold a Career Day in the fall. These opportunities would not have been available to us had it not been for our amazing members and volunteers. It has been a privilege to serve as your Chair.
Now, let’s bring the momentum for 2020!