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Corporation Associates: Looking Back, Looking Forward

by Roslyn L. White, Chair, Committee on Corporation Associates
January 26, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 4

Credit: Courtesy of Roslyn White
Credit: Courtesy of Roslyn White

NOW THAT WE have closed out the tumultuous year that was 2008, with its financial downturns, government bailouts, and rising unemployment, we look toward the new year hopeful, but with tempered anticipation.

"The Committee on Corporation Associates makes industry's voice heard at all levels of society governance, including the ACS Board of Directors."

ACS Corporation Associates spent last year in a flurry of activity, making positive strides in several areas. Its governance committee, the Committee on Corporation Associates (CA), advises and influences ACS to ensure that the society provides products and services of value to industrial members and their companies. CA accomplishes this by actively participating in and bringing its own industry-focused leadership to ACS programs and projects.

Why is it vital to maintain this strategic link between industry and ACS? The answer is simply put: to add value to the member companies and ACS members employed in industry. CA makes industry's voice heard at all levels of society governance, including the ACS Board of Directors. The committee also initiates and promotes ACS programs relevant to industrial chemists, including programs that aim to help shape the workforce, influence public policy, recognize and reward excellence in industrial research, address global challenges, and continually enhance the public perception of chemistry and science.

One such program, Global Innovations Imperatives (Gii), was recently launched through a partnership between ACS and CA and the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI). This collaboration is aimed at stimulating industrial innovation to tackle societal imperatives. Please check out the Gii website at

CA has also been active in public policy, educational outreach, and awards and grants. The committee participated in the review of ACS policy statements on science funding, technology, and energy. In the area of educational outreach, CA hosted roundtables for undergraduates at the ACS spring national meeting and for graduate students at the ACS fall national meeting. CA members believe that reaching out to students is a key form of networking and mentoring that helps to fill the pipeline of the next generation of scientists. CA has also partnered with other committees, divisions, and groups to reach out to a broader audience while leveraging scarce resources.

CA was able to continue sponsorship of the ACS Awards for Creative Invention and for Team Innovation. The 2008 awards were given, respectively, to Adam Heller of the University of Texas, Austin, and to Stanley Collins and Scott Culler of 3M. CA also made grants that supported programming of the ACS Division of Chemical Technicians, the ACS Graduate Student Symposium Planning Committee, and the ACS Undergraduate Programs Office.

MOVING FORWARD, one strategic goal of CA is to be recognized as an influential source of leadership. First, the committee aims to increase its public policy activity. It is important to have an industrial voice heard in the current quest to find or produce more sustainable forms of energy and the technology required for them. The committee also aims to shape the future workforce. Who is better positioned to predict industry's future needs than those in industry? CA can have direct influence on shaping that talent pool.

Members of CA help ACS keep its finger on the pulse of industry, anticipating its changes and trends and communicating them to the broader ACS organization and the public.

A wise man once told me, "Young lady, if you hit rock bottom, the only place to look is up." There's no denying the U.S. has fallen on rough times, but with change comes opportunity. There is no time like the present to look toward bigger and brighter things.

That same wise man also told me that the ideal place to begin change is with the person in the mirror. Individuals hold positions in companies, and individuals can effect change within companies. Collectively, individuals can guarantee that business as usual is no longer acceptable! Let's look toward 2009 with all the potential, and yes, change, it has to offer. If you want to be part of this transformation, I invite you to join the Committee on Corporation Associates and urge you to visit for additional information.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


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