Those who saw my earlier post on the IEEE Computer and Communications T&T Chapter would know that the inaugural meeting was held on the 12th of January. The meeting was smaller than I had hoped, but did expect. Member apathy is one thing that we really need to overcome. The executives for the period 2008 – 2010 are:
- Chair – Sachin Ganpat
- Vice-Chair – Prof. Mansour H. Assaf
- Secretary/Treasurer – Gifton Caesar
I think we have a very good team here, and I am extremely excited. Below was my address to the small gathering:
Good Morning fellow members, IEEE Executives and fellow professionals.
I would like to thank you for coming out today, taking time from your usually busy lives to come to this our first chapter meeting. And the first of many.
The IEEE is one of the world’s largest volunteer organizations. As such, it is through the work of the local Chapter officers that the work of the IEEE and its Societies is accomplished. To accomplish its goals, the IEEE and its societies are dependent on the involvement of its members through the local Chapters. This means that the future success of the Chapter, the Section and the IEEE as a whole depends on you, fellow members.
I know many will ask what is the value and benefits to you of your membership to the IEEE or the Societies?
- Your membership allows you access to industry relevant information including the newest breakthroughs and advances through its publications and technical seminars.
- It allows you to network with peers, many of them industry leaders; use this to your advantage to enhance your personal skills and your career as well.
- It also allows you a voice as many societies, including the Computer and Communications Societies, allow its members to participate in technical committees as well as the formation of standards.
Together, these benefits help shape you as an individual and guides you in your career to a better professional.
It is interesting that people will think nothing of shelling out $400 or $500 dollars to become a member of a party club or group, or to attend the next all-inclusive for a night fun. But they would think twice about spending that same money to join a professional organisation, one that would help them for their entire career. You here today, have chosen the route to advance your career and better your life by being part of the society, and as such will see the returns.
With that, you must also assist in bettering the organisation so that we may be able to better others as well. Therefore I encourage you to volunteer yourself, your time and your skills whenever possible to move the chapter forward.
What does Volunteering do for you?
- It creates your human network and stronger bonds with others that you work with. As you work with individuals with like thinking, you will understand what I mean.
- It develops your leadership skills. One of the greatest ways to test your strength as a leader is to lead a volunteer group. With no salaries and position to hold over their heads, how do you get them to work? That is the test of a true leader.
- It develops your softer skills. Help organise a technical meeting. Give a speech on a technical subject. Provide mentoring of younger peers. These are skills that last a lifetime.
- It gives you that soft fuzzy feeling. Volunteers are driven by the knowledge that they are doing something for the greater good. The skills that we develop in others will contribute to the society and to the world as a whole.
Understand that the future of the chapter is dependent on the members each giving of themselves to grow.
So what does the future hold? What are the plans for the upcoming year? Well, the final plans will have to be developed, but the vision of the chapter as I see it is to be the premier technical society providing technical information and leadership for the country’s computer and communications professionals and society as a whole.
And how shall we accomplish this? By improving our country’s computer and communications professionals by providing opportunities to meet industry professionals and enhancing their education through technical workshops.
We should be a group that others will come to for advice.
So what would we do?
- As a Chapter, we must have at least two technical meetings a year to retain our validity, and we shall aim for that this year. I ask that those who have ideas or suggestions to themes for those meetings to please submit them.
- More communication with membership. I know that you sometimes get a lot of mail from IEEE societies and affiliates, but look out for communications from the local chapter. It may have information relevent to you.
- In T&T we have a couple of other active technology societies, and we shall work to coordinate our activities in order to improve our chances of success.
- In this day and age, a website is important, so we shall put something out. Nothing fancy, but it should have something out there that potential members can reference.
- Also under consideration is the publication of technology articles to local newspapers as a method of publicizing the chapter. Again, if anyone believes that they can contribute something, please contact us.
- If anyone has any other ideas, again, please contact us.
In concluding my address today, let me say,
Trinidad and Tobagois seeing unprecedented amounts of money coming in and through the country. Unemployment is at an all time low; inflation is at an all time high. However, the real growth of the country is slowing. Our estimated growth rate for 2007 is 5.5%, compared with 12.2% in 2006. We still have that our greatest component to our GDP as the Energy Sector that stands at 44.3%. A far second is Financial Services at 13.5% of GDP. Agriculture is at a paltry 0.4%.
We say that the government has not done anything to provide sustainable growth. I am not going to argue here today on whether they have or have not. Governments do as they have always done – sometime misguided and misinformed and sometimes they just make mistakes. We cannot always depend on a government to provide, but you should ask yourself, “what do I do?”.
We must develop our largest natural resource – our human capital. Develop the skills, the qualities and the entrepreneural spirit into everyone that we can get our hands on. Yes, some may leave the country, and some may give up, but they all won’t. For the one person who stays and keeps going, may lead the country to greatness.
I thank you and look forward to everyone’s active participation.