Creating Our Future

John W. Walz, IEEE Computer Society 2012 President

Pages: pp. 6-7

Abstract—Realizing our strategies in a time of change will require teamwork.

I extend a warm welcome and thanks to our members, volunteers, and staff world-wide. I thank you for your expression of confidence by electing me to move the IEEE Computer Society forward, building upon the progress made under the leadership of 2011 president Sorel Reisman, his Executive Committee, and the Board of Governors.

Being a member of the Computer Society offers much more than just having a membership card and receiving Computer. Our Society's business is to help you access the right resources and technical information when you need them; support you in your career; and facilitate relationships with like-minded professionals for mentoring, collaboration, and simple enjoyment.

As a CS member, you have the opportunity to increase your ability to innovate, build leadership skills, take advantage of vital technical communities, and develop your career. To receive the full benefit of these opportunities, you need to become engaged in the Society's activities.


Under Sorel Reisman's guidance, Roger Fujii, 2011 VP of standards activities, led the 2011 team of outstanding leaders to complete the development of SP7, the Society's strategies and substrategies for the next three years ( The SP7 strategies address four overarching CS objectives:

  • operate as the premiere professional organization in computing technology,
  • increase the number of members,
  • develop the next generation of volunteer leadership, and
  • create a sustainable financial model.

The SP7 strategies, which reflect the Society's values and core competencies, encompass five areas:

  • future technologies,
  • knowledge creation,
  • education and professional development,
  • outreach and engagement, and
  • Special Technical Communities.

Each strategy has several substrategies, 19 in total, which reflect the innovative ways CS volunteers can achieve the strategic objectives.

Each substrategy has several action plans, each of which includes clearly defined measures and targets. For example, one substrategy for the future technologies goal is to become a leader within IEEE in supporting development of the smart grid. The action plan is for conferences and editorial experts to focus on creating smart grid events and preparing papers on the smart grid technology roadmap. As industry accepts this roadmap, we will undertake standards activities, followed by professional and educational activities.

To align our future directions goal with those of IEEE, I will create an ad hoc committee and appoint a chair to work alongside our program boards to drive our strategies foward, in concert with IEEE's projects.

Following the policies of inclusiveness and partnerships established by past presidents Jim Isaak and Sorel Reisman, I will also work toward revitalizing our Intersociety Cooperation Committee (ICC). I want to upgrade our key India and China relations to involve our program boards and coordinate with public policy liaisons to IEEE-USA, as well as other national professional associations.


A key presidential role is communicating with our stakeholders. This year, I will attend more than a dozen major CS conferences to learn from our attendees, authors, and organizers about how the Society provides value, so that we can achieve our shared outcomes. Past president Reisman has agreed to continue communications with our educational stakeholders, and 2012 president-elect David Alan Grier will promote communications with our publications stakeholders.

For communications with our general membership, I will continue the president's tweets and video blogs, and will add some articles to be published in Computer.


During our work on SP7, we discussed the problem of maintaining continuity due to the annual change in presidents. This problem has been well-documented at IEEE as well. Since I have worked under the last four presidents, I well understand their key contributions and how their policies and projects fit in our strategic plans.

Sorel's continuing work on piloting the development of Special Technical Communities (STCs), an extension of 2010 president Jim Isaak's Instant Communities, is a key action plan for 2012, as is the inclusion of IT professionals.

STCs encourage the development of communities associated with technical tracks at conferences, standards use, publications, emerging technologies, precollege contests, policy issues, grant opportunities, and the business of coordinating chapters, student chapters, conferences, and other activities. These communities can point to the foundational materials relevant to a specific topic: recent papers, tutorials, webinars, workshops, and so forth—helping interested professionals find their way to the best resources while avoiding the relevance and quality issues that emerge from googling keywords.

2009 president Kathy Land's mission to provide increasing value to our membership continues in several ways, including focusing on active listening to stakeholders, alignment between volunteer leaders and staff leaders through budgeting and operational plans and reviews, as well as pilots of new membership bundles.

2008 president Kasturi's work on innovations in products and services that focus on career and professional development continues with additions and revisions in our educational offerings along with deployment of SWEBOK course certificates, as well as the Certified Software Development Professional and Certified Software Development Associate certifications.


The volunteer governance team who will work with me to provide leadership in 2012 comprises the Executive Committee (ExCom) and the Board of Governors (BoG).

In addition to past president Sorel Reisman and president-elect David Alan Grier, the ExCom includes seven vice presidents: Tom Conte, first vice president (and VP of publications); André Ivanov, second vice president (and BoG secretary); Liz Burd, VP of educational activities; Paul Croll, VP of technical and conference activities; Paul Joannou, VP of professional activities; Sattupathu Sankaran, VP of member and geographic activities; Charlene (Chuck) Walrad, VP of standards activities; and Jim Moore, treasurer, who also serves as Division V Director. Nonvoting ExCom members include Kathy Land, Division VIII Director; Roger Fujii, Division VIII Director-Elect; and Angela Burgess, the Society's executive director.

Newly elected BoG members are Hakan Erdogmus, Gargi Keeni, Fabrizio Lombardi, Paolo Montuschi, Arnold Pears, and Bill Pitts.

This governance team will work together with their staff counterparts to deploy our strategic plans, make adjustments according to external pressures, and seek new opportunities. The external pressures include increasing chaos in economics, political, and social structures. Never-theless, the teamwork spirit—across our program boards and with other IEEE operation units—will result in permanent achievements that will be revealed in our balanced scorecard reports to the BoG. These visible improvements will increase, retain, and engage our membership while expanding the high-quality products and services we have to offer to our wider and expanding community, whose recognition will build on our IEEE brand.


Each month, I'll post a short video blog about an issue, announcement, or topic of interest, controversy, or matter of importance to Computer Society members. I invite you to engage in the threaded discussion at You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @CSPresident.

About the Authors

John W. Walz retired from Lucent/AT&T with more than 25 years of software and systems engineering-management leadership experience. Contact him at
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