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“May you live in interesting times” is used as both a blessing and a curse, and the past year at SPSSI has been very interesting. We’ve made over the Society in several ways in 2016-2017, and I’m happy to say that virtually all of them are to SPSSI’s benefit.
A Building....The most visible change is that SPSSI has sold its headquarters on I Street in Washington DC, and is putting the final touches on the purchase of a new headquarters in 7th and G Street SE in Washington. This building is much, much nicer, is more functional for our operations, reflects better on the Society, and creates better working conditions for our Central Office staff. The SPSSI offices are currently crammed into the second floor of our old building, renting back space until we make the move. I want to thank Faye Crosby and the team of people who originally identified the I Street building and recognized its future value; SPSSI realized a substantial profit from the sale of the old building. And I also want to thank Susan Dudley for overseeing the real estate transactions, and setting up SPSSI for the move.
Changing Face of SPSSI....Sadly, this will be Susan Dudley’s swan song for SPSSI, as on August 1, she stepped down as Executive Director. We have had excellent and wise service from Dr. Dudley for more than a decade—we’ve been lucky to have someone steeped in psychology, social action, policy, education and research. She has been a wonderful manager for our professional staff, a faithful enactor of Council’s guidance, and a visionary leader of the society. Susan has embodied SPSSI’s unofficial motto (and title of our blog), Sound Science, Sound Policy.
After a careful national search, using a search firm that specialized in non-profits, we have hired a new Executive Director, Anila Balkissoon. This name may be familiar, as Anila has been with SPSSI’s Central Office longer than anyone else, and was instrumental in holding the office together during very difficult times.
Ms. Balkissoon has a master’s degree in Nonprofit Organization & Association Management from the University of Maryland, and has worked with several other nonprofits in the DC area. We are lucky to be able to have such an ideal candidate in our own backyard, with such a commitment to SPSSI. Please welcome her to her new position and responsibilities!
From the SPSSI Treasurer,
"When you're finished changing, you're finished." - Benjamin Franklin
"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." - Winston Churchill
Both Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill would be proud of SPSSI in 2017, because we are changing to adapt to our environment. There are some big picture changes, including the appointment of a new Executive Director, the move to a new and exciting Central Office in Washington, the start of a strategic planning process and modification of the SPSSI investment strategy. Council and the SPSSI Executive Committee have been busy!
The sad news is that it is time to say goodbye to Susan Dudley, our former Executive Director, who has guided the Central Office and indeed our entire organization since 2006, and to wish her well. I remember when Susan was hired as Executive Director because I was serving on Council in 2006. There was a general sense of excitement to see Susan take the reins at Central Office but there was also a recognition of the need for reform and the huge task that she faced. Susan has done a remarkable job as Executive Director. She has not only righted our ship, but has moved us ahead in our mission, while all the time carefully guiding our financial status helping to make us the successful organization that we are today. But the happy news is that Susan’s replacement is none other than our own former Program Director Anila Balkissoon. Anila competed for this position in a national search that involved careful scrutiny and consideration of a number of very qualified and talented applicants. I know this because I chaired the search committee that recommended Anila to Council. Anila was not only the best prepared candidate to take on the role of SPSSI Executive Director, she was also the candidate that best projected the values that have made SPSSI the great organization that it is today. I am very excited to be working closely with Anila and welcome her to her new position. Change is bitter sweet.
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Outgoing Executive Director, Susan Dudley, bid an emotional farewell to SPSSI at the Membership Meeting in Albuquerque in June. Susan’s official retirement occurred on July 31. Below are some excerpts from her remarks.
In October 2006, I joined Anila Balkissoon – who had already been working for SPSSI for 9 months at that point – and we became a staff of two.
Here are some things I remember from those days:
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As several of our officers have noted, SPSSI hired Anila Balkissoon as our new Executive Director, following a national search and the retirement of outgoing ED Susan Dudley, PhD. Anila officially assumed her new role on August 1, 2017. Her most recent role with SPSSI was as Program Director. Feel free to contact her at anytime.
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