The Everybody Story
Mary Reily, SETAC North America Immediate Past President
"There was an important job to be done and everybody was sure that somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought that anybody could do it, but nobody realized that everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that everybody blamed somebody when nobody did what anybody could have done.
Don’t wait for somebody else to do it. Lead the change and be the change you want to see."
I know it's lame. Not because it isn’t true, but because it’s worn – maybe even worn-out. At least worn enough that it made me cringe when I read it again today for the first time in a long time. But it reminded me of the perils of being a self-governed, all volunteer society. If each of us, the "everybodies," don’t step-up, engage and carry part of the load, then there will be critical pieces, incredibly important work, superb member services that will be lost to us because "nobody" took the initiative to make them happen simply because they thought "somebody" else would.
I'm honestly relieved and proud that SETAC has so many "everybodies!" We took on and accomplished so much this past year and set ourselves up well for the future. We published the “go-to society” long range plan. We prepared technical papers and held risk assessment training for congressional staff wanting to get the science right for Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform. We started a dialogue with postdocs and recent grads about their interests and how to achieve them. We formed the Senior Resource Group to take on special projects that will be best served by their experience. We held our first Career Navigation Fair, which connected our students, recent grads and postdocs with the businesses and institutions that make up our exhibitors. We held the last of the Global Horizon Scanning Project workshops. We put plans in place for new symposia and Focus Topic meetings. We moved even further into developing electronic publications and education resources so we can reach a broader audience. We held the North America annual meeting and provided significant support to the Latin America annual meeting. We started looking into new revenue sources so we can expand our services. We hosted successful technical and leadership development professional training courses (aka short courses). We elected strong, new members to the Board of Directors. We put on quality science, technical and member service programs.
The most exciting thing about this type of organization is that there is always room for more leadership and ideas, and certainly room for more member contributions to both. So, I call on SETAC's "everybodies" to not stand on the sideline of the "Everybody Story." Find the piece you have a passion for and take it on. From my own experience, and those of the many members I have worked with over the years, I can assure you that you will be empowered. You will learn or practice skills that make you better at your job or prepare you for the next one; your professional and social networks will explode; you will enhance your reputation; and you will understand why so many members, who have decided to be "everybodies," call SETAC their professional home.
Thanks for a great year. Thank you for being "everybodies." And congratulations on all of your accomplishments!
Author’s contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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