A message from the new President: Dr Susan Pond AM FRSN

Dr Susan Pond AM FRSNIt is my great privilege to be elected as President of the Royal Society of NSW. Thank you to the many who have welcomed me so warmly. I look forward to meeting more and more members in the coming months. You are a collection of inspiring individuals committed to using your influence to create a better world. It is an honour for me to be part of the Society, and even more so as President.

I begin my first President’s column in the Bulletin by acknowledging the Past
Presidents of the Society, many of whom remain active members today. I also acknowledge my fellow Councillors and Committee members.

I particularly want to pay tribute to our immediate Past President, Ian Sloan, for his fine leadership over the last three years and his steady resolve during 2020, amidst the turbulence of the pandemic. Pleasingly, Ian will remain on Council as Past President for the next year — our bicentennial year which begins in June. We will be celebrating the first 200 years of our Society’s history while creating new chapters that will be written about in years to come.

Throughout my career, as I transitioned from academia to industry and back, I greatly enjoyed creating impact by combining and working at the intersections of disciplines. The unique strength of our Society is the mix of depth and breadth of expertise of our membership, and of far-reaching personal vision combined with big picture thinking.

It is more important than ever for the Society to be ambitious in its thinking and outward in its vision. As President I propose to amplify the energy and firepower of our entire membership so that together we can better contribute, as an independent and authoritative voice, to the advancement of knowledge and informed debate on critical challenges and transitions. By way of example, this year’s RSNSW and Learned Academies Forum on 4 November will tackle the topic ‘Power and Peril of the Digital Age’.

I want to capture and retain our innovations that were successful during the pandemic, especially the extension of our outreach beyond Sydney and NSW through on-line events. That said, I also want our events to return to being held live as soon as practicable. Face-to-face meetings will be more important than ever for building stronger bonds between us, generating and debating new ideas, and facilitating a more natural flow of conversation.

With live meetings in mind, small and large, I intend to work hard to secure dedicated premises in Sydney to give the Society the permanence, stability, and presence we need to take our renaissance to the next level.

I also intend to bring people from all sorts of backgrounds and from different regions into the Society so that it reflects the communities we serve. We have begun discussions about establishing a branch in Western NSW, having seen the success of the Southern Highlands and Hunter Branches.

The Society will only be successful if you, the members, are prepared to offer your time, energy and expertise. Please come forward if you are interested in contributing to our success!

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