Help us sharing our research, consultation and experiences

Donate Now

The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

President's Letter December 2022

Dear friends and colleagues,

For many of us following the Gregorian calendar, the year will end soon. That also means, that the board meets in person at the site of the venue for next year’s AM. This time we went thus to South Africa to meet with the AM organizing team, to check out the venue and to get an idea of what we must expect when going there. Unfortunately, Nevena and Pearl could only join via zoom, but we tried to make the best of it.

I would like to summarize our experience in South Africa as such: the hospitality of our AM team and the people at the venue, the beauty of nature, the exploration of south African culture positively overwhelmed us. The AM team took very well care of us, and they also created some nice surprises to give us a taste of South Africa. Therefor I can say full heartedly that it will be a beautiful and interesting conference.

The venue is modern and stylish (only for us, no other people) and safely located not far away from Johannesburg, in the middle of a nature reserve. The drive from Joburg is not long (45min to 1h drive from the airport), everything is safe and secure. Although one reads a lot about crime in Johannesburg, we are not touched by that (of course we would not recommend going to Johannesburg in the evening on your own, but I guess you would not want to do that anyway or in any large city you do not know well). Technology is of course not as good as in other international cities, but it works well enough to create a good experience and to hopefully allow for streaming the sessions (it will not be a hybrid meeting, see my last letter).

Please come and let us meet in person for the first time since the New York AM in 2019 – it makes such a difference to be physically together in one room – I think it is worth this trip.

I would also like to give an overview of our work and the board meeting.

First, the AM Team gave as an overview of the whole conference week – they will soon upload a first overview. I think we are in incredibly good hands with them, everything is already well prepared and ahead of schedule, thanks to Rica and Thabo being the co-chairs, Michelle responsible for papers, Adrian for PDWs and Calum for travel, accommodation, and technology. Well done!

I will share now some of the most important discussion and decision points.

We have decided to set up a new board role – Marketing Director, who will take over from me after next election taking place soon. The strategy is to make our work and our society more visible to the outside world - that will serve all our members and especially those, whose profiles are public on the website, so please consider opening your profile for the public. The website will be further developed for that purpose, and we have several ideas of how to improve and enrich it to make it more attractive for you.

That means, that for our board election in early 2023 we are looking for three new board members and one president elect. Thea’s and Ajeet’s terms will end at the end of the AM, Irena will become president and I will become past president. We have four roles to be filled: Marketing Director, Online Professional Development Director, Interorganizational Collaboration Director and Social Media Director. This endeavour is part of the strategic objective improving our governance. Please consider throwing your hat in the ring or motivating somebody else to do so.

Serving you, our existing members and gaining interesting new members is of course important for us. Thus, we have intensely discussed Thea’s concept for our Online Professional Development (Academy) which will use the website as well – she will now work out the details and you will hear more from her and her plans soon.

We also discussed Ajeet’s concept for Interorganizational Cooperation, a rather tricky field which needs a truly clear policy. He will now translate our discussion into a policy together with a clear strategy and criteria for choosing organizations for collaboration. He will publish it soon also.

Pearl’s work on social media and her work in the Monthly Membership Meeting was part of our agenda as well. We all think that the MMM offers a lot of further possibilities to engage for members, also in giving workshops, running special interest group etc. This could also be extremely helpful for our more recent members.

As always, we received positive reports from our treasurer Jeff Axelbank and from our Admin Director Nevena Jeremic. They are both doing a fabulous job.

Please be so kind and think about paying your membership fee, if you have not yet done so.

Jeff is setting up a funds for members in need, so that we can help members when they need some financial support to come to an AM. Details are in preparation by a work group. Please contact him if you would like to donate.

Instead of thinking about (US American) CE credits only, he will set up a litte file for each workshop, paper presentation etc. which will help to clarify learning objectives etc. That can also be used for education points in other areas of the world, and it is a great preparation for all of us giving a paper or a workshop.

Aaron shared with us some more details about the next ERM which will take place from 3rd to 6th of Feb 2023 – you can find more details on the website. He is also looking for colleagues wanting to re-establish the New York regional meeting, so please let him know if you would like to be part of this endeavor.

Another important decision is that we want to open our membership for a new membership category: associate members. This will be for people having interest in our field yet no training at all. We have had more and more people wanting to join without having the professional background – this would be a category in which they fit. We can also imagine organizational leaders for which our work can be helpful. It will be a category without voting rights and for a higher fee – details will be worked out by a group of board members. It will also strengthen the Expert/Professional status of our existing members.

Finally, a working group of members is preparing our birthday event, which will take place in 26 degrees South as well and which explores our 40 years of existence. A birthday party will follow it!

I hope I have mentioned everything and did not forget anybody or anything?!

Thank you to my dear board colleagues, it was a great meeting and a pleasure to work with you, thanks also to this hard working AM team and to everybody involved in a work group!

Please come to our South African AM and consider giving a paper or a PDW, we are very much looking forward to seeing you there!

In the meantime, please enjoy the Holiday or Festive Season, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all other celebrations which take place - and a peaceful and prosperous Happy New Year!

Warm regards


The ISPSO board

Claudia Nagel – President & CEO
Irena Izotova – President Elect
Jeff Axelbank – Treasurer/Director Finance
Neven Jeremic – Admin Director
Ajeet Mathur – Director Interorganizational Collaboration
Thea Mikkelsen – Director Online Professional Development
Aaron Nurick – Director Events
Pearl Tran – Director Social Media