Dear friends and colleagues,
Back in 2015, I began my first official volunteer role for our division when I became a representative-at-large (RAL). Fast forward seven years, and I am sharing this message with you as our division chair! It has been an interesting, sometimes frenetic, and rewarding path that has allowed me to contribute to our division in many different ways while nurturing relationships that I will relish for the rest of my career. From RAL, it was on to the leadership track, where over the past three years, as PDW chair, program chair, and chair-elect, I have learned a lot and have been consistently impressed by our amazing executive committee and what they do for our members year-in-and-year-out. Our division is fortunate to have such talented members and leaders. And, despite scrambling to adjust on so many fronts as a result of the pandemic, we’ve kept up, learned, and kept moving forward.
This year, as division chair, I am focused on four aims: continuing work on our division’s strategic goals, building on our social media presence, adding new members, and adding value to existing members. The first goal is to build on the fabulous and diligent work of my predecessors. In 2019, we completed our 5-year review of the division.
From this review, we formulated five goals for the division: (1) improving interactions among (junior and senior) scholars, (2) improving opportunities for research collaborations, (3) providing value to our members beyond the annual conference, (4) raising the scholarly prestige of our division, and (5) continued activities to recruit and engage members. Scott Seibert, Jamie Ladge, Gina Dokko, and Jos Akkermans each made major progress on these goals during their division chair terms. To reach these goals, our division implemented several new committees, such as the Value Beyond August team, the Mentoring team, and the Research Collaboration team. Some of their many contributions since inception include a brand new mentoring program, a virtual Careers in the Rough (CiTR) initiative to complement our AOM Annual Meeting-based CiTR initiative, and links to videos with Careers Division award winners.
I’ve had the sincere pleasure of talking with our committees recently. Truth be told, I’m thoroughly impressed by their dedication and drive to make our division even better for our members. The pandemic has made all of the committees stretch and innovate, and our volunteers on these committees have consistently been up to the challenge as they continue to work on several initiatives that will offer fantastic opportunities to our members. I will now share some of these initiatives with you.
The Mentoring Committee now includes Jeff Yip, Janine Bosak, Becky Paluch, and Caitlin Porter. Last year, committee members executed two Careers in the Rough programs, held three 'careers around the world' events, and implemented mentoring pairs. The experiences from mentors and mentees have been very positive, and both CiTR and the mentoring pairs will continue. Key aims for the upcoming year are to increase the number of participants while publicly recognizing our dedicated mentors.
The Research Collaboration Committee consists of Mel Fugate, Caitlin Porter, and Alycia Damp. This year, their main priority will be to submit two caucus proposals for the annual conference aligned with its theme of “Putting the Worker Front and Center.” These research incubator caucuses will have two different themes and will aim to generate new research collaborations with a special focus on attracting scholars from South America.
The Value Beyond August Committee includes Jeff Yip, Alex Newman, and Noemi Nagy. Key committee activities include finetuning and executing our (virtual) Careers in the Rough program, continuing to develop our regional ambassador program along with the roll-out of early career workshops targeted at PhD students to include a brand-new component focused on enhancing participants' developmental networks.
The Prestige and Impact Committee consists of Sherry Sullivan, Silvia Dello Russo, and Janine Bosak. This team will continue creating an array of meaningful content to share with our members. For example, they will continue their video series with past Hughes Award winners. They also will continue to promote a highly informative video on reviewing for AOM with Yehuda Baruch, which can help new and long-time reviewers enhance their reviews for the annual conference while also drafting and submitting a careers-focused “meet the editors” PDW proposal.
The Membership Committee consists of Silvia Dello Russo and Becky Paluch. They will tackle several ideas to get our membership solidly above 1,000 members. This team will continue to provide welcome emails to new members, invitation emails to scholars on the CAR program who are not yet members, and welcome-back emails to lapsed members. New focus areas include reaching out to PhD program directors to increase their students' under- standing of what our division has to offer and to those who had careers-related research in the AOM program (but not the CAR program) who are not yet CAR members. Finally, the Communications Committee consists of Alycia Damp, Victor Chen (webmaster), Melika Shirmohammadi (newsletter editor), Mostafa Ayoobzadeh (newsletter associate editor), and Noemi Nagy (social media). This team has a critical role in enhancing our division's communication activities, including executing our social media strategy through YouTube, LinkedIn, and (maybe) Twitter. Don't forget to follow the Careers Division on these platforms, as we continue our quest to share more material on these mediums going for- ward.
The second goal focuses on building on our social media presence. Just looking at the brief overview of committee activities above demonstrates how many strategic and important actions we're pursuing as a division. And that’s not even considering all the conferences, special issues, books, articles, teaching activities, and societal impacts that Careers Division members continue to make! We want to focus even more attention on sharing these activities more broadly, actively and prominently with all of you, of course, but also with anyone interested in careers research that isn’t (yet!) a CAR member. The Communications Committee will have a key role in coordinating these efforts, and we intend for our other committees to share their activities with you more frequently via social media, Connect@AOM, and our newsletter especially since the pandemic has made so many aspects of careers research more front-and-center than ever before.
The third goal is to add members, and the fourth is to keep adding value to our existing members. You've heard about the activities of the Membership Committee, as now is a great time for careers research and for us to broaden our membership base around the world. In addition to other activities this year, we also continue preparations for our 2nd Careers Di- vision Community Conference building on the first such event in 2020 in Vienna, Austria, just before the pandemic hit. Many of our members joined this first "CarCon" event, which was an inspiring and fun way to get together and learn together.
Preparations are now underway for a second such conference at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, slated for Spring 2024. Please reach out to Jos Akkermans, Evgenia Lysova or Svetlana Khapova if you have questions or if you would like to contribute in any way.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our amazing division officers. Three years ago, Jos Akkermans and I were responsible for the conference program when AOM abruptly switched from in-person to on-line in May 2020. And it was nuts! Then, Denise Jepsen and I created our AOM CAR program in a completely virtual format, another first. And then last year, Serge da Motta Veiga and Denise Jepsen executed another first: a hybrid CAR program. This year's preparations are still being worked out, but we expect the AOM conference to once again have in-person and on-line components. However it works out, it will no doubt be a major effort for our PDW chair Daniel Spurk and program chair, Serge, as there will be changes for sure. I am sincerely grateful to Daniel and Serge for taking on this challenge and for representing the needs and interests of our membership. Together with Denise Jepsen (responsible for our division awards this year as our chair-elect), Jos Akkermans (responsible for CAR elections as our immediate past chair), Alison Dachner (responsible for fundraising as our treasurer), Erin Makarius (responsible for keeping us on track and organized as our secretary), and Sherry Sullivan (responsible for ensuring continuity as our archivist/historian), I am confident we will make the best that this year has to offer. A hearty thank you to each and every one of you for your diligence, engagement and extraordinary efforts for our division!
Finally, I want to thank all of our members! Along with our volunteers, you help us to continue our incredible tradition of careers scholarship, teaching, and collaboration that is bar none. This division has been my AOM home-away-from-home for many years, and it’s always been an amazing community of mentors, advisors, role models, colleagues, and friends. My goal is to continue our ability to provide a constructive, developmental and inclusive community of people who all have a passion for careers research and careers knowledge dissemination. Thank you, one and all, for being engaged in this very special community, for helping out with reviews every year, for volunteering when we need help, and for sharing your knowledge and ideas as we continue navigating the in-person/virtual worlds. If you are interested in getting more involved, for example, as a volunteer, you can always contact me (email@example.com) or Silvia Dello Russo (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that we will also run elections again soon for our division leadership and for new representatives-at-large, an outstanding platform for future CAR roles.
We encourage nominations and self-nominations and want to get a slate of amazing candidates! We will inform you once the election window opens, and this year, Jos Akkermans (email@example.com), who continues to do so much for our division, will run the elections, so feel free to contact him about them!
For now, I wish you and your loved ones all the very best. This pandemic has been a challenge in so many ways, including to my family and me personally. So, please stay healthy and safe as we all deal with the brave new post-pandemic world and associated changes to AOM. And I sincerely hope to see you in-person at least for one of our top-notch sessions, socials, or meetings at AOM 2023 in Boston!
All the very best, Rick Cotton
Division Chair, Careers Division