Unless you are in the events industry, you probably have never heard of ISES. It is the International Special Events Society, a wonderful organization that educates and supports events professionals.
There is a Pittsburgh Chapter now in it’s 5th year of operation. Over the past 2 years I’ve had some serious disagreements with the local chapter leadership. As a result, I decided to not to continue as a member of ISES Pittsburgh and to explain my departure in a brief post on the group Linkedin page.
Instead of encouraging a discussion of issues or inquiring as to why yet another member was leaving the chapter, my post was simply removed from the page.
Therefore I’m posting my departure explanation here, where it can not be removed:
Hello everyone. I want to thank all of you who have shared your thoughts and words of support over the last few months concerning the Pittsburgh chapter of ISES. I believe ISES as a whole is a wonderful organization. I also believe there continues to be some key issues in our Pittsburgh chapter that need to be addressed. The ongoing resistance to open transparency and a desire to limit leadership of the chapter to certain individuals must change.
In the beginning we were the fasting growing chapter in the history of ISES due to the hard work of a dedicated and diverse group individuals. That fact was trumpeted repeatedly and the support and admiration of other ISES chapters was outstanding. Membership has since declined and the response was: “it isn’t about how many members we have; it is about having SATISFIED members”.
The strength of the organization does indeed depend on the number of members. The value of your membership lies in the connections and relationships you are able to build with those members. Several wonderful and talented former members have departed the Pittsburgh chapter because they were in fact dissatisfied. Without a willingness to recognize and respond that reality, I believe the trend of declining membership will continue.
After much consideration, I have elected not to continue as a member of the ISES Pittsburgh chapter. It’s difficult to take this position with a chapter that we worked so hard to make a reality in Pittsburgh. I do intend to remain actively involved with ISES in other ways, and I will continue to work with and support ISES members both here and across the country.
It is my sincere hope that the new leadership will begin to make the necessary changes to once again foster an environment of inclusiveness and open communication within the chapter. If and when that begins to happen, I will be proud to once again become a member of the ISES Pittsburgh chapter.