March 2017

Reaching Out To The National Societies

Patricia A.O. BunyeBy Patricia A.O. Bunye, President, LES International

As this issue of Global News is being finalized, the LESI Board and leaders of the different national societies and LESI committees are headed to Bangkok for the Winter Planning Meeting. Traditionally, the Winter Planning Meeting is held to prepare for the term of the incoming LESI President. I am thrilled to be working with President-Elect Peter Hess, who has been a friend for many years and who will no doubt lead LESI to greater heights.

I am particularly heartened that the agenda for the Winter Planning Meeting hits one of the “Cs” of my term’s “4Cs,” namely consolidation or building on LESI’s many strengths, while keeping an eye on the many areas for improvement.

The Winter Planning Meeting this year is preceded by the National Leaders Meeting, which is an expansion of the National Presidents Council (NPC) Meeting introduced by Past President Jim Malackowski through a National Presidents’ Retreat in Del Mar, California, just out of San Diego, in 2011. It was envisioned as a forum through which national society presidents could interact in depth about the best practices and challenges of their respective national societies. A wealth of knowledge and resources have been culled from that and succeeding NPC meetings and are available at

This year, we decided to broaden the NPC by also inviting other national leaders such as the secretaries and treasurers, who have their own challenges.

At the National Leaders Meeting, we are looking to tackle, among others, the institutionalization of best practices and development of manuals and checklists for national leaders, especially those who are holding office for the first time. We recognize that some societies are more developed than others and have well-established systems and procedures, including for leadership transitions. On the other hand, there are societies whose operations are largely dependent on the personality at the helm and, thus, need assistance in “systematizing” their society.

In recognition of this, much time will be devoted at the National Leaders Meeting to Society Case studies, particularly LES (USA & Canada) and LES Japan on the topic of “Sustaining Growth of a Large/Established Society;” LES Italy on the topic of “Attracting Attendance at Meetings” and LES Thailand on the topic of “Growing a Small/New LES Society.” From these case studies, we hope to identify the minimum deliverables from national societies and minimum requirements for a “healthy society.”

At the Winter Planning Meeting proper, we will tackle the “State of LES/I,” with the discussions being led by Past International Secretary François Painchaud, Past International President Yvonne Chua and President- Elect Peter Hess. The summary of the results of the Long Range Planning Committees’ survey and the resulting recommendations will also be discussed, with a focus on LESI’s top strategic initiatives

One awaited session is on “A New Committee Strategy for LESI” to be led by Vice President John Paul, which recognizes the need to work more closely with the international committees in our planning process to more effectively define and accomplish the most important priorities.

LESI’s strategy towards competing organizations and conferences will also be discussed, seeing how difficult it has become to draw attendance to our events given time and budget constraints, as well as the seemingly more attractive offerings of other groups.

Finally, a discussion on the Young Members Congress (YMC) will cap the day. In the few years that it has existed, the YMC has proven to be an effective tool for engaging young members, who are certainly the future of LESI.

We look forward to a fruitful National Leaders Meeting and Winter Planning Meeting, and to sharing the outcomes with you!

LES leaders at the Winter Meeting in Bankok, Thailand.
LES leaders at the Winter Meeting in Bankok, Thailand.