On 1 October 2007 I took up the position of Chief Executive of the BPS and at the time of writing have been in post for nearly 3 weeks. I have spent the past 8 years as Executive Director of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. During this time I undertook a strategic review which led to a merger with a charity with complementary objectives, to ensure that the organization embraced all aspects of the subject from cell to society. I also established a wholly owned trading subsidiary which enabled my office to provide association management and conference organizing services to the European Association for the Study of Obesity.
I was closely involved with the initiation and development of the SCOPE (Specialist Certification of Obesity Professionals Education) programme which initially focussed on Europe but has since been extended to Latin America and the Asia Oceania region.
For the past 2 years I have worked closely with 5 other NGO’s (World Heart Federation, International Diabetes Federation, International Paediatric Association and the International Union of Nutritional Sciences) to develop the Global Alliance for the Prevention of Obesity and Related Chronic Diseases with a particular focus in Asia, which included developing primary prevention policies with national ministries and local clinicians in Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Pakistan and PRC China.
Prior to this I worked at London Business School for 3 years as Associate Director of the Centre for Central and Eastern Europe and Foundation for Entrepreneurial Management. I was also the Chief Executive of the British Society for Rheumatology for 8 years and was elected to the Board of the European League Against Rheumatism as Vice President responsible for development of patient support networks throughout Europe.
I hope that the skills and experience I have gained over the past 20 years in the management of learned societies and health related organizations will be readily transferable to the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead for the BPS.
My first few weeks have involved attending a variety of BPS meetings including part of the James Black conference which provided an excellent opportunity to immerse myself in some of the science, observe how BPS meetings operate, and meet and exchange views with some of the members and non- members which has provided much food for thought!
Ensuring that the BPS staff work as a cohesive team to fulfil the BPS’s objectives is of critical importance. One of my first tasks, therefore, was to familiarise myself with the workings of the Angel Gate office. I conducted face-to-face interviews with each member of staff to establish people’s background, skills, current workload, future objectives and to gain their opinions on the challenges and opportunities facing BPS.
Moving forward, there are a whole series of issues which I believe need addressing in order to develop and expand BPS membership and services and to raise the profile of pharmacology.
I have listed a few of my initial thoughts below but would welcome other views via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Working with the Executive, Council, members and wider stakeholders to develop a sustainable long term strategy and business plan for BPS
- Retaining existing members and ensuring that the needs of younger members are adequately addressed, whilst attempting to engage new members from other sectors and countries.
- Bringing the scientific and clinical sections of the Society together through emphasis on translational medicine in all aspects of BPS’s work
- Developing an appropriate portfolio of services to satisfy existing and prospective members
- Examining ways of diversifying income to ensure long term financial stability
- Assisting with the renegotiation of the journal contracts and addressing the challenges presented by open-access publishing
- Making BPS more externally focused, including the redevelopment of the website and greater use of electronic communication tools
- Strengthening BPS’s role in policy where appropriate
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the BPS officers, members and staff for their help and support to me in my first few weeks and look forward to meeting many of you in person at the Winter meeting.