2020-21 Director Candidate Mona Miller
Candidate Statement – CESSE Director-At-Large
The last several years have generated a vivid tableau of opportunities and challenges for science and engineering societies, making a vibrant and engaging CESSE more important than ever and I would like to help shape its future. We face new technology opportunities, major strategic shifts in service, more challenging communication and policy environments, and shifting member demographics.
Why do you would want to serve on the CESSE Board of Directors and what can/will you bring to the Board?
Over the last 5-7 years, I have experienced all these factors while moving from senior association professional to CEO and now into a second contract term. This stage in my career gives me perspective on the needs of earlier career professionals, as well as those at major transition points moving into leadership. I also have worked widely in policy and communication roles that help me think about the needs of broad stakeholders, including business allies and partners in our larger ecosystem and communicate effectively and persuasively. I have long supported and believed in the value of public-private alliances to serve larger goals and feel confident I could represent the scientific and engineering society perspective while also considering how we can appropriately and actively integrate our long-time allied companies and partners in the private sector.
What do you believe is (are) the important strategic question(s) that CESSE needs to address in the next three to five years?
- How can CESSE increase its role as a recognized catalyst and expert source for guidance as societies face rapid transformation? How do we reinforce and make more visible the strong CESSE brand and relevance within our community? How do we distinguish and communicate what is unique to, and common among, scientific and engineering societies, creating unique program value within the association landscape? How do we do that sustainably as a financially healthy organization?
- How do we establish ourselves as a place people join, grow and stay? I was delighted to see the emphasis last year on reaching early career society staff and strongly encouraged my team to take advantage of it. How do we generate active engagement and learning opportunities at that level, and how do we foster leadership from the next tier of scientific society and association leaders, now in their 40’s and 50’s? Creating a sense of an advancement ladder within society careers and CESSE can reinforce this concept.
- How do we expand the diversity of voices, backgrounds and experiences? It seems CESSE has made excellent strides to reenergize the organization and expand the voices and participation within it. We should keep this going. I was moved by the diversity discussion at the CEO meeting and think that dialogue needs to continue, and ACESSE also featured more D&I content, which was very important. I think new and more varied voices in sessions would also reanimate and broaden the sense of welcome and inclusion at events, and this is underway.
I have strong communication experience, demonstrated skill at organizational capacity building, and past board experience, as well as substantial financial management experience. I also have an inclusive perspective and interest in understanding others’ experiences and incorporating that to enrich and shape better programs and outcomes. I have worked in the public, nonprofit and consulting sectors and appreciate the needs of all those experiences in CESSE. I also continue to make diversity a high priority in my own organization and professional commitment, including diversity of gender, identity, and ancestral backgrounds.
What specific skill or experience can you bring to the Board to help address this (these) matter(s)?
BiographyMona Miller is Chief Executive Officer of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), a global professional society of researchers, clinicians and technology leaders dedicated to advancing human genetics and genomics in science, health and society. Working with a diverse, dedicated Board to set the Society’s vision and direction, she leads a skilled staff team and has helped the Society strengthen its support and leadership of the dynamic community, increase its visibility in national policy, and modernize its infrastructure to position it for growth. She has had a career-long passion for science and health advocacy and organizational leadership in the non-profit, public and private sectors.
Prior to ASHG, Mona worked for ten years at the Society for Neuroscience, serving as Deputy Executive Director for five years overseeing programs and finance and five years as Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs. Previously, she was senior officer of public affairs at the Pew Charitable Trusts, with a focus on its science portfolio; directed communication for U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, one of the Senate’s great science champions; consulted for health care organizations and small non-profits; and managed advocacy communication and media relations for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Mona is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
She earned her master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, with concentrations in advocacy; business and government policy; and nonprofit management. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University. She serves on the Board of the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area and lives in Washington, DC, with her spouse, son and daughter.