Dear Friends and Colleagues- Over the past weeks, as I begin my term as the President of Phi Tau Sigma, I have spent considerable time talking to many of you, reading your words in a number of media locations, and carefully considering the words of the Phi Tau Sigma officers and leaders who have come before me. When I read their words, I am amazed at their foresight, and breadth of knowledge, and also the wisdom they have imparted to us as honored members of this important group. So often within our individual worlds, we laud our successes, herald our futures and spend too little time looking at our history. Many have spoken of the history of Phi Tau Sigma and the leaders who have come before us- remarkable. We share the success that they built and owned; we have an obligation to our profession to carry forward the promise of food science and technology, and to push the capabilities of ourselves and our younger colleagues. This will not be a diatribe on the aging profession, the shortage of volunteers, the lackadaisical approach too often taken to potential industry success; nor will it be a communication about our concerns about mistrust in science, misleading communication about our work and our industry, or our fundamental support for solid scientific understanding. We all share a strong hope for the future- future of our profession, future for our children and for our collective world.
Let's consider how we appear to the world! I have recently taken on a new professional role in a trade association and I often remark about "we scientists talking to ourselves." It goes for lawyers and bankers and bakers as well- talking to ourselves about what we know; making ourselves smarter by what we share or don't share-- but forgetting the very fundamental truth for all of us. Those who came before us knew a lot- they shared a lot- and they rallied around us as young professionals, eager to support us as we ventured out into our new realm. I am reminded of several dear colleagues who have recently passed- and I consider what I have known by working with them. What I know is what they gave- what they shared, I learned by listening and considering. Our professional engagement can be so much more to each of us and to our profession if we communicate to each other- face to face; Skype to Skype if needed- but we do need to engage.
Imagine the days when 'food science' departments held food scientists who found their ways into the same halls, offices, classrooms, pilot plants and research laboratories-- all together every day. Conversations over the coffee pot were meaningful; senior seminar was an experience! Interaction with colleagues at Phi Tau Sigma events was instructive. During the past IFT15 meeting in Chicago, we had many opportunities to catch up with colleagues and friends. Phi Tau Sigma hosted a number of events- and prior to the meeting, our outstanding newsletter editor Dr. Kathryn Kotula shared details so as to get us where we needed to be- on time. All five of the Phi Tau Sigma sponsored symposia and programs were very well received- I tried to at least drop in to most of them- and I credited Phi Tau Sigma for the support when I was a presenter as well. What if each and every one of us said, "Phi Tau Sigma," at least twice a day during our times at IFT15 (and IFT16) what it might mean. Saying is believing-- and so is showing up! I have to say I felt disappointed to have so few of us engage in meaningful dialogue during our business meeting. Those leaders that I mentioned above have worked very hard over the past five plus years to 3
move us in a new direction- to reinvigorate the Phi Tau Sigma membership and activities. Our university Chapters continue to grow; and we continue to engage more members while we grow our Lifetime Members. Good for us- and good for our future as an organization, on behalf of our profession.
I wish to thank our past leaders, particularly our Immediate Past President Dr. Benjy Mikel. In spite of a big move across the country and a career change, Benjy led our Society well- and in a very considered fashion. If you go back to his first President's Message last September, you will see that his principal goal was to increase membership and improve our relationship with IFT- both done. Both done well- and I would say significant credit needs to be given to Benjy?s approach to leadership- collaborate, coordinate and listen. Real gifts to Phi Tau Sigma- and we should all remind ourselves to thank him for his great leadership.
This year I would like us to commit to sustaining a robust membership with strong Chapters, including leadership development. This means that each of us would need to take an active part in outreach and coaching or mentoring students as well as young professionals. We have initiated a mentoring program- we all should find the time to participate in this important work. And, we, as The Honor Society of Food Science and Technology must encourage professional colleagues, students and young professionals in our workspaces to become more active in communication about Phi Tau Sigma, and in nominating deserving colleagues to join our ranks.
I wish us continued success this year; I very much wish for your support, engagement and energy- each of you. I have the honor and privilege of working with an outstanding team of elected officers and volunteers who have a passion for Phi Tau Sigma. This team effort is now underway but it is not complete without your input. Thank you for joining us on this web site http://phitausigma.org - where we welcome your engagement and input!