A conversation with the candidates for IEEE R8 Director-Elect (Part B)
This is the second part of the conversation with the two IEEE Region 8 Director-Elect candidates Antonio Luque and Rafal Sliz . In this part a few very interesting questions are answered by the two candidates that, we believe, will help you decide who to vote for. (You can read part A here)
What aspects of your background and experience you think will help you most if you get elected?
Rafal Sliz: During my professional career, I’ve had the pleasure to work in multi-cultural environments across several countries, including Finland, Poland, United Kingdom, USA, and Canada. This international experience, together with my industry consulting work, allow me to see a bigger picture, effortlessly lead a group as diverse as Region 8, and deliver promised results. In addition, serving in most of the major IEEE Boards (including the IEEE Board of Directors) has equipped me with knowledge and experience regarding how to work efficiently and achieve set goals in a member-driven organization as IEEE.
Antonio Luque: I have experience in almost all areas where IEEE is present. I have organized international conferences, acted as editor and reviewer of journals, written software, served in committees, chaired Sections and Boards,… My feeling is that all these areas can be better integrated and presented to members, who very often just want an organization that provides them with technical information and peer networking. That can only be achieved if we deliver a comprehensive IEEE experience, not limited to just a few products and services.
Name 3 advantages and three disadvantages you think you have regarding this election process.
Antonio Luque: I feel my main advantages are my experience in many areas, technical and geographical, of IEEE, the time I can commit being a tenured associate professor, and my capacity of talking with people and finding common viewpoints.
Regarding the disadvantages, I hate spending time on paperwork but have learnt to cope with it and do it efficiently. I used to start many different projects out of enthusiasm, now I am able to select and focus on the important ones. Also, I have learn the virtues of delegating responsibilities to others, which is something you must do at any executive IEEE position.
Rafal Sliz: Regarding advantages, I consider the following to be the more relevant ones:
- I have significant knowledge and experience gained from implementing a multimillion-dollar set of IEEE projects that are already changing the organization (The Institute Cover Article).
- My altruistic, team-oriented and friendly approach to volunteering where all hard work and time must be recognized and appreciated.
- My “less talk, more work” approach, focused on data-driven project implementation
No one likes talking about their shortcomings, but I think it’s important to acknowledge our less-loved aspects. For me, these are some of the main ones:
- Many consider me to be too young for the Region Director position, but actually, if elected, I would not be the youngest Director Region 8 has had.
- After all the years and money spent, I still lack understanding of the purpose of IEEE Collabratec. Maybe it is time to say enough!
- I get very passionate about the work I do and I get frustrated if others do not share my enthusiasm.
Mark the 3 top priorities for the IEEE Region 8, you will start working on if Elected.
Rafal Sliz: Our members have different needs across the Region. Therefore, understanding this diversity by performing detailed research in all our Sections and Sub-Section will be the first priority.
Based on the acquired data, develop a set of projects that will provide tangible benefits and services to our members and volunteers, and make IEEE relevant to them, regardless of location.
Propose adjustments to IEEE governing documents to change the organization’s current structure, where Region 8 is currently clearly under-represented, in order to reflect the current IEEE membership.
Antonio Luque: Technology is the reason we are here. Support technical activities, don’t lose the focus on the roots of IEEE. Invest in embracing new technologies to become a relevant organization on them.
Participation. Ensure that everyone that wishes to devote time and passion to IEEE is welcome and has the tools to do so. Use the cultural and geographical diversity of the Region as a strength. Promote equal participation of women and other underrepresented groups.
Students and young professionals. Provide them with opportunities to volunteer and be engaged. Show that IEEE membership is useful in professional lives at all ages.
What is the first thing you want to change or enforce regarding the strategy in each continent?
Antonio Luque: Empower our conferences, to make the public perceive them as a really valuable tool. We will strengthen their technical content and make them truly regional conferences. My focus would be to attract topics and contributions that are related to the technologies which have relationship to the geographical area where the conference is located, so that they provide something unique as Region conferences.
Continue the efforts towards publishing a regional technical magazine, where the technologies and developments that are especially relevant in Middle East, Europe and Africa will be highlighted, providing members with the information they need to be updated in all technology fields.
Rafal Sliz: Categorizing members based on their geolocation, especially when it is as large as a continent, is a very questionable approach. By doing this, one is implying that the needs of small Sections are the same as those of large and well-off Sections just because they are neighboring countries, or that there is a one-size-fits-all solution to all the Sections and Sub-Sections of a given continent because they happen to be on the same piece of land – I beg to disagree with this perspective. Our Region is made up of people who are beautifully diverse, not of standard units that precisely categorized and grouped together. This richness of cultures, economies, and political statuses calls for a more innovative approach to applying developmental strategies than drawing up lines on a map. We are one Region, and we need to overcome the mental obstacles imposed by our geographical spread.
Closing, which is the message you’d like to share with our readers?
Our Region and IEEE have an incredible potential to create an environment where engineers can find their professional home. However, data clearly indicates that today’s IEEE simply falls behind current trends related to professional organizations that are supposed to serve members and advance technology.
To change this situation, I will adopt a “less talk, more action” approach, focusing on increasing the value of IEEE membership by supporting and initiating data-driven, sustainable projects. In addition, I will work on recognizing projects that are not fulfilling their purpose or providing any concrete benefits, and relocate the resources to initiatives that are proven to support the Region’s future success. Also, to increase the transparency and control of our spending, as the Region 8 Director, I will strongly advocate applying the same data-driven approach to IEEE-wide projects.
At this point, I would like to thank you for your time and reading though my remarks. I would appreciate an additional five minutes for visiting my website at www.sliz.online, to know me better and check whether my program matches your expectations for IEEE and Region 8. I am grateful because you – the IEEE member – are the one who matters most.
Thank you for the opportunity of expressing my views on Region 8 and IEEE. I accepted the nomination for the office of R8 Delegate/Director since I believe I have the experience, character, and ideas needed to serve IEEE members and society in general in this position. There are three things I feel that a Region Director should have: Experience, Dedication and Values.
I have 14 years of IEEE volunteering, in almost all areas in the organization, both technical and geographical, having run publications and organized conferences, led teams and chaired committees. This experience allows me to understand the technologies we develop, the needs of our members and potential members, and the diversity in geography, culture and finances in Middle East, Africa and Europe.
Being a tenured Associate Professor, I can devote the time required for the position. I also have ample experience in research and technology transfer to the industrial sector, which provide me with a wide view of the technological world.
My strong commitment to volunteering, to make technology advance to improve peoples lives is aligned with IEEE’s vision and values. I firmly believe that advancing technology will benefit humanity.
So this concludes the extremely interesting conversation we had with the two IEEE Region 8 Director-Elect candidates. We want to thank them a lot for this conversation and all their efforts for IEEE Region 8.
Don’t forget to express your preference by using the ballot you will receive and always be unite towards our mission objective, advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.