This is the most difficult GeoMessage column for me in my 18 months as Chief Executive Officer of SSSI. It is my last. I had not anticipated leaving now but, as we all know, the realities of life require difficult choices, and this has been such a choice for me.
While I regret leaving before the task is complete, I believe that our recent achievements lay the groundwork for a revitalised SSSI. I will not provide an itemised list of these achievements here, although I am very proud of them. The upcoming SSSI Annual Report 2018-19 will cover many of these.
Let me summarise the changes in this way. The past 18 months have focused on two distinct but related areas: making SSSI a sustainable business, and making SSSI a more representative and relevant member organisation.
The first is vital though certainly not “sexy”. Every one of us understands that a business which is not effective, efficient and living within its means has no future. That has been the challenge for SSSI – the good stuff can’t happen if there is no reliable base for the long term.
While not yet where we want it to be, SSSI is looking good for the future. We have had steady and solid membership growth for over a year after several years of decline. We have reversed the escalation of deficit budgets year after year and are on track for a surplus by 2021–22.
This improving base is what has allowed the focus – the absolute, laser-like focus – on the needs of the membership to prevail. You have seen the first shoots of the new, sharper more relevant SSSI as a member. There is much, much more to come.
There are many reasons for my resignation from SSSI, both personal and professional. Those reasons do not for one moment change my gratitude for the opportunity to have worked with such an amazing group of people in a remarkable industry. Nor do they change my firm belief that SSSI’s best days and greatest achievements are ahead of us, not behind us.
I’d like to thank the Board, the Committees and Commissions of SSSI, and above all the members. SSSI is at its best when it listens to you and delivers what you need to be even better surveying and spatial professionals.
And finally, I’d like to thank the dedicated staff of SSSI. They have walked every step on our journey to make SSSI a better and stronger voice for its members and will continue to do so long after I have departed.