Join MySLAS Social

New Governance Model Empowers SLAS Volunteer Leadership

By Sabeth Verpoorte, Ph.D.

SLAS takes seriously its mission to bring together researchers in academia, industry and government to advance life sciences discovery and technology via education, knowledge exchange and global community building. That’s a tall order, as it means that we need to continue to grow and change as a Society to be true to our mission. The SLAS governance structure must enable greater interaction and synergy between the SLAS Board of Directors and SLAS volunteer committees, and between committees themselves.

This past year, the Board created the Governance Task Force to review our governance structure and recommend changes which are commensurate with our strategic plan and mission. I served on this task force along with other representatives of SLAS senior leadership, under the very competent chairmanship of Rich Ellson. We are updating our volunteer leadership structure this year to facilitate success, based on task force recommendations.

The new governance structure ensures representation by volunteers and subject matter experts from around the globe and deep in the trenches of the different disciplines and markets SLAS serves. The structure breaks down into these four areas of volunteer involvement:

Management: Board of Directors; Finance, Audit and Nominations Committees; supported by three councils and multiple committees within each

Membership and Engagement Council: Dedicated to identifying trends and needs in the SLAS community and among potential customers

Knowledge Content and Delivery Council: Maintains oversight for all SLAS educational content and delivery across all subjects, methods of delivery and location

Strategic Relations Council: Focused on ensuring SLAS maintains a solid understanding of the scientific and market trends that influence and impact the Society; recommends, develops and launches new programs, products and services

I believe this streamlined model ensures that the right people working in the right place will feel empowered to make a difference and have the tools and support to succeed. Let me offer one example: With our new structure, planning for all event-related SLAS activity in the Americas (International Conference and Exhibition, Short Courses, Webinars, etc.) will reside under one committee – the Americas Scientific Program Committee. As topics or subject matter experts are discussed by this committee, the group can collectively decide how information on that topic should be delivered to the community. The same structure exists for Europe with the Europe Scientific Program Committee.

The program committees along with the SLAS Journal Editorial Boards reside under the Knowledge Content and Delivery Council. The journals, issued 16 times each year (10 for SLAS Discovery and six for SLAS Technology), offer peer-reviewed, cutting-edge manuscripts that address the full spectrum of issues that are mission-critical to the SLAS community. Topics covered in the journals often are presented at events as well. With these committees positioned under the same SLAS Council, we can maximize coordination of key topics through the most appropriate delivery methods.

Representatives from each committee jointly make up the SLAS Councils, ensuring effective communication and thought leadership. Additionally, an SLAS Board of Directors member is liaison to each council, further solidifying efficient utilization of volunteer resources and Society funds.

SLAS appreciates its volunteers and, in fact, would not exist without their dedication to the Society. We can attain the lofty goals set out in our mission when, and only when, our valued volunteers rally around the Society’s potential. We are working to construct an organization that effectively utilizes a volunteer’s time for maximum output. We respect you – our valued community thriving at the intersection of applied and basic life sciences discovery and technology – and strive to make your volunteer investment in SLAS meaningful.

Would you like to be involved in this new era at SLAS? Sign up to volunteer today!


“Good governance provides the vision and direction to ensure that an association is on the right path.” – American Association of Society Executives

March 26, 2018