As 2016 draws to an end, each of us will have our differing reflections on the past year. For some it may have been a year of opportunity. For others it may have been a year of challenge. As I look back at EIANZ’s year, it was certainly a year of both.
Our divisions and our New Zealand Chapter have provided outstanding professional development opportunities for our members and others throughout the year. A common theme this year was innovation and learning for the future. My sincere thanks go to all those across Australia and New Zealand who have been working so hard to ensure that our members receive maximum benefit locally for their continued loyalty to EIANZ
The year also included yet another fantastic Annual Conference, attended by more than 150 environment practitioners. The Conference was held just over a month ago in Brisbane, and featured outstanding keynote speakers offering valuable insights to those who were able to join us for the event. Beyond this, the conference also provided attendees with an unparalleled opportunity for industry networking.
The EIANZ’s SEQ Division was an outstanding host for the event. My thanks go to all those who attended, and of course to the members of the Conference organising committee.
2016 also included many challenges for EIANZ.
The challenge of growing membership remains our greatest challenge. EIANZ has grown during 2016, but the level of growth has been modest. This can be partly explained by significant economic downturns in some parts of Australia. However, the economies of many states in Australia, and many parts of New Zealand, are performing very well. In these places we would hope that more environmental practitioners would join you in becoming a member of the leading environmental professional association in the region. While many new members have made this choice during 2016, many remain as non-members. Our ongoing challenge is to connect with these environment practitioners so that they understand the value of EIANZ membership.
It is sometimes a tradition at this time of year to give gifts to friends, and I've often been asked in recent weeks what gift I might like to receive. If the EIANZ membership could give me a gift, it would be that in 2017 members spread the word about our Institute, the benefits of membership, and the importance of being part of a professional association. Growing our membership is important. Not just because it makes the Institute financially more secure, or that it enables us to do more for members, which of course it does. The more strategic, and in many ways important reason, for seeking membership growth is that the larger our membership, the higher our standing as a profession.
That's a gift in which all our members can share.
I wish all the EIANZ members the very best for this end of year period. I hope 2017 is a year of great opportunity for you, your families and your colleagues. See you in 2017.