The Society for the
Study of Social Issues


From the SPSSI Outgoing Executive Director, Dr. Susan Dudley (continued)

  • In 2006, the Central Office was equipped with computers assembled from components, spare parts, spit, and paper clips. We were on an unreliable network and the simplest task required time-consuming and inefficient work arounds. Today, of course, we’re running sophisticated machines, at high speed, and in the cloud.
  • Our website in 2006 was a primitive patchwork that was so idiosyncratically hobbled together that we needed expensive consultants to work for hours to fix even minor typos. Today, we have two websites – one of them award winning – that every staff member and intern can update as soon as a request to do so hits our desks.
  • In my early days, Anila and I made a point of leaving the office before dark each day and walking together for safety to our respective Metro trains. Today we are a few weeks away from a much anticipated move to a building in a beautiful and stable neighborhood with space and amenities to better fulfill our mission.
  • And one last recollection:  I was hired in 2006 with a mandate to stabilize, regularize, and systematize SPSSI operations. Now, ten-and-a-half years later, I’m proud to say that I’m leaving an invigorated SPSSI that is on the move. We’re building program, building capacity, building organizational reputation, and building value for our members.

Interesting as it is to compare SPSSI 2006 with SPSSI 2017, the more important part of my personal   memories of my years at SPSSI lies with the people I’ve been privileged to work alongside and to whom I owe my sincerest gratitude. First and foremost, this includes the magnificent staff with whom I’ve shared so much, and without whom I could have accomplished nothing.  Along with our current staff –  Anila Balkissoon who taught me everything I know about SPSSI; Brad Sickels, whose 7th SPSSI anniversary (we call them SPSSI-versaries) we just celebrated here in Albuquerque on Thursday night; and Cyndi Lucas and Sarah Mancoll who are both doing extraordinary jobs to to create opportunities for members to make a bigger difference in the policy arena -- I also want to thank our former staff members – Gabe Twose, Alex Ingrams, and Chris Woodside – and all the Taylor interns and Marshall Fellows who have enriched our thinking and effectiveness in serving you. It has been among my lifetime’s greatest honors, privileges, and daily joys to work with these remarkable and AWESOME people.

Thank you as well to SPSSI’s leadership. The officers and Council members with whom I’ve worked and from whom I’ve learned so much have my sincere appreciation. I am grateful beyond words to all of you who have given me your trust and the opportunities to serve alongside you.

Finally I owe so much gratitude to SPSSI’s members – who are doing the work day in and day out that informs the policies that make living in our dangerous world a more just proposition. SPSSI has come a long way in the last decade. You now stand at the threshold of a new era that will surely dwarf the accomplishments of these las 10 years. I hope your vision remains firm. Thank you all for what you do and for allowing me to share in that endeavor for these last 10 years. 


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Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin