News from Ann

Hello Friends and Colleagues,
It is a pleasure, and my honor, to be writing you as President, to share news from the Board, and to highlight a few of the events that you will read more about below. 
An important role of each incoming Board is to carry out a review our Committees, as the vibrancy and well-being of the SMM depend very much on their productive work. We viewed this process as an opportunity to identify collaboratively our goals for the upcoming term and beyond. Two guiding questions that we asked were (1) how can we support the work of our colleagues to carry out high quality marine mammal research (especially that with a conservation focus) and (2) how can we help our Society enhance its diversity, inclusiveness, and sense of community? While we are still completing this process, I do wish to share with you a few points.
First, although I thought I had some idea of how hard our Committees worked, I had not a clue! Based upon my discussions with each Chair about her or his Committee, the news for us all is that there is a small army of dedicated, hard-working volunteers who help make our Society go! We will continue to share with you their efforts in the future. 
Second, because ensuring that we are an inclusive community is a core value of our Society, we have established an Ad-hoc Committee on Diversity, co-Chaired by Eric Archer and Tara Cox. This step was one of Jay Barlow’s last actions as President, and we thank him for it. At this point in time, Eric and Tara are working on the broad outlines of their Committee’s goals and will soon be reaching out to our global scientific community to get a broad representation of the Society to help shape this endeavor. 
Third, Committees offer our members an important opportunity to serve the Society, to learn more about how it works, and to determine if one may wish to take on a leadership role in the future. I would encourage you, if you are interested, to explore our Committee pages and reach out to Committee Chairs, to learn more about their work and how you might play a role. And I now will make such a request, as we have an important Committee Chair to fill. 
Shane Gero, who has served the SMM over the past six years, will be stepping away as Chair of the Education Committee. Shane joined the Board in 2012, and under his leadership, transformed the species fact sheets into the Wikipedia marine mammal species project, helped bring the SMM into the world of social media, and was a generous, hard-working colleague. Although Shane will be stepping down as Chair, he has made it clear that he is not stepping away from the SMM! We all thank Shane for his service!
Thus, we will be looking for a new Chair of the Education Committee. This role is an important one for our Society and one that can help shape our outreach to the world.  May I ask, if you are interested in this important role, that you reach out to me at Thank you!
One other note from the Board. We will be having our interim Board meeting in Barcelona in early November 2018. During this time, we will be meeting jointly with the Council members of the European Cetacean Society, to continue planning the 2019 World Conference. 
I also wish to inform you that Mario Acquarone, Chair of the European Cetacean Society, and I had the privilege of being invited to the African Marine Mammal Colloquium, held last month in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was an excellent and exciting meeting, hosted by Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld, and the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University. We were also pleased to have the opportunity to present and to invite our African colleagues to the 2019 World Conference!
My very best wishes to you all,
Ann Pabst