Looking ahead to a year of further improvement
Welcome to a new year! It certainly doesn’t seem like 12 months since I took up the position of President-Elect and I wish to take the opportunity to thank Bob Clay for leading our organisation so ably throughout 2017. I hope I can serve you all equally well in 2018.
Of course, the new year brings new faces to the TOPRA Board and sadly we also say goodbye and express our thanks to those leaving us. We welcome Nick Sykes as President-Elect, and Anne Nallen and Elizabeth Madichie as Directors. We also welcome back our re-elected Directors, Sharon Gorman and Aileen Fisher. We will sadly be saying goodbye and thank you to Thomas Kühler, Lena Björk and Will Drury, and to Alix Alderman as Natalie Tolli takes over as representative for North America. Those remaining on the Board, and thus ensuring continuity, will be Past-President Bob Clay and EU representative Sue Harris.
When I graduated from university as a chemist more than 25 years ago, I had not even heard of the profession of regulatory affairs. Like most people in those days I fell into it because someone needed something done and I was free and able to do it. Today we are part of a well-recognised profession, known for our high standards of accuracy, precision and ethics. We are, of course, more than that, because above all we are all scientists — regulatory scientists.
All scientists need to continually update themselves to adapt to constant changes. As regulatory scientists, we work in a highly regulated industry, and by documenting the progress we are already making, it’s an opportunity to reflect on our own current practices and plan the steps needed to improve ourselves. Starting this spring TOPRA will be offering members the opportunity to become a Chartered Scientist. Chartered status shows you have achieved a recognised professional level, which you can use when thinking about career progression while also helping with benchmarking across different types of scientific disciplines. As Chartered status becomes more recognised, I am confident employers will recognise its importance in supporting current staff and attracting new employees.
In 2018 TOPRA will also continue to build on its 2020 vision of promoting a professional identity and offering services that are in demand by you, with the goal of increasing engagement and providing value. We will look at digital offerings using technologies allowing instant access, connection and response, regardless of time or location. TOPRA will continue to build meaningful relationships with policy and decision-makers to improve opportunities for debate and influence, and we will continue to evaluate business opportunities to generate revenues that will sustain the business.
Of course, without you — the members — TOPRA would not be the organisation it is. I want you to know that this is your organisation and the Board and office staff are the custodians for a short period of time only. The volunteers and members are essential to the organisation and we are all very eager to hear your views, so please do reach out with your thoughts and ideas.
On behalf of the TOPRA Board and office staff, I wish you all a very happy, healthy and profitable 2018.
Angela Stokes, TOPRA President