In my field, technical committees are quite important. Today, I wanted to reflect on how I have seen my role in technical committees change – for those of you interested in what a path forward in such endeavors may look like:
- Attending committee meetings: I started showing up to committee meetings to learn about the topics these groups are addressing.
- Becoming a friend of the committee: The first step is often to become a friend of a committee, or an associate member (the nomenclature depends on the organization, but it refers to members without voting rights). At this stage, volunteering to take on tasks is important.
- Getting voting rights: After serving a while as a friend or associate member, and having made significant contributions to the work of the committee, you can expect to get voting rights and become a voting member of the group.
- Serving as an officer: If you are an active voting member, the time may come when you are asked to serve as chair, vice chair, or secretary of the committee. Some committees also have communication officers or other officer positions. Your efforts are recognized and you hold a more coordinating role now.
- Stepping up to executive committees: After being recognized as a leader in the technical committees, the next step is to be asked to serve on committees that are more involved in the operations of the organization itself. Such committees can be, for example, the executive committee of an institution, or another committee that deals with the operations, such as DEI committee.