Gratitude

November is the month when Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States. It is a day often characterized by gatherings of family and friends. This year is different. Many families will have remote, virtual meals together as part of efforts to control the continuing spread of COVID-19. Virtual gatherings of families are natural given how much of our paid work and volunteer work is being done virtually as well. While there may be disappointment with not being together, reasons to be thankful remain. I decided to focus my message this month on my gratitude for the work of ISI members and staff.

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Organizations succeed as a consequence of the contributions of many.

Organizations succeed as a consequence of the contributions of many. This is critical for a professional society that relies on the work of a large pool of volunteers interacting with a small core of dedicated and hard-working staff. The Executive Committee has done outstanding work in helping the ISI pivot in response to pandemic constraints. These changes include many decisions related to the implementation of the virtual WSC. Even with much time being spent addressing these unanticipated pandemic-related changes, new initiatives such as the blog Statisticians React to the News have been launched.

The advice of Council has provided important feedback on direction and policy of ISI, and Council members are involved in leading many important activities including the working group implementing activities in the International Year of Women in Statistics and Data Science (#IYWSDS) and the working group addressing and promoting the relationship between statistics and data science at ISI. Many Council members serve in other leadership roles as well.

ISI is blessed with leaders who bring enthusiasm and insight.

ISI is blessed with leaders who bring enthusiasm and insight. We have talented colleagues serving as officers who lead the Associations (Bernoulli Society, International Association for Official Statistics, International Association for Statistical Computing, International Association for Statistical Education, International Association of Survey Statisticians, International Society for Business and Industrial Statistics, and The International Environmetrics Society). We have other talented colleagues leading and serving in Special Interest Groups, Standing and Operational Committees, and Outreach Committees. All of these groups would not succeed without the contribution of volunteers. Where would we be without the editors and reviewers of ISI and Association journals? How could we have World Statistics Congresses or Regional Statistical Conferences or Association conferences without scientific program committees and other organizers? One way you can provide your own ’thank you’ to the program committees is to contribute invited session proposals for the WSC 20201 (due Nov. 30). Another ‘thank you’ for editors is to submit high quality papers to their journals.

The glue that helps hold together successive  generations of ISI volunteers is the ISI Permanent Office staff. They coordinate contracts for conferences and publishers, process membership, assist with virtual events such as meetings and webinars (check out the archived webinars if you didn’t get to see them live!), and update and revise our web presence. I am personally grateful for their assistance and hard work in the face of the many 2020 challenges.

There is an African expression “it takes a village to raise a child.” I suggest that it takes a community of colleagues to raise a professional society to success.

For all of the groups mentioned above, I say THANK YOU! You are the reason for current ISI success, and you will be the source for future ISI excellence. There is an African expression “it takes a village to raise a child.” I suggest that it takes a community of colleagues to raise a professional society to success. I invite all of you, members of our global professional village to see where your gifts and talents might contribute to raising a bright and impactful future for ISI.

John Bailer (@john_bailer)
ISI President
09 November 2020

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