Question No 5: "SLA is an international organisation. How can SLA involve and reach out to more members outside of North America?"
As a member of the Boards of SLA Europe and the Asian Chapter, I am acutely aware of the challenges that can be experienced in bringing people together from geographically dispersed regions. Both of these Chapters have members in many different countries, and there are issues that could manifest themselves, so if we don't maintain contact with our members, they might leave SLA. So this question is highly pertinent to my current position.
On the HQ web site, as members, we have access to many resources – including a list of Unit Web Sites. Here: http://www.sla.org/content/community/units/chdivsites/index.cfm
There are 56 Chapters, 27 Divisions (excluding sub-divsions and 10 Caucuses, and it occurred to me that we are not exploiting our own data to its fullest. Are we?
So, I thought about having an "Adopt a Member Month" on a global scale. I thought of this because I was unable to attend Philadelphia in person this year and I know that I missed out on some great face-to-face networking opportunities. I joined the new Virtual Group of Philly attendees, so I didn't miss out totally. I don't know how many others didn't get to Philadelphia, not even virtually, but they missed out even more. The way this might work would be to advertise a particular month, and ask all of our members to pick 5 people in that month to make contact with. But they must be people they have never had contact with or met with before, or that spoils the game.
Idea 1] We could use the Unit "classifications" to locate other members on the other side of the world and make contact with them as long as they are not already members of the same Chapters, Divisions or Caucuses.
So for instance, if you are in Bangalore, you could e-mail or skype a member in Italy, California, New York, London, Oman. Someone in the US could select 5 people completely out of their regional jurisdiction.
Idea 2] Because the above is somewhat messy and fragmented, we might ask all of the members in each region to reach out and contact someone in the same Chapter with whom they have never spoken.
Idea3] We ask all members with specific professional interests in Divisions and Caucuses to reach out and contact someone in the same Divisions and Caucuses with whom they have never spoken.
Not only could this be a fun idea, the global reach would get people interacting with each other and even involve a bit of friendly mentoring on the side. It would certainly be a conduit for making a global organisation just that little bit smaller, and people could write about their experiences for Outlook. I wonder what the end report of ineractivity between members would look like?………………….now there's a thought.