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For Director-At-Large: Helen (Bonnie) A. Lawlor

September 10, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 37

Credit: Courtesy of Bonnie Lawlor
Credit: Courtesy of Bonnie Lawlor

Division of Chemical Information (Philadelphia Section). National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS), Philadelphia

Academic record: Chestnut Hill College, B.S., 1966; St. Joseph’s University, M.S., 1976; University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, M.B.A., 1989

Honors: Meritorius Service Award, Division of Chemical Information, ACS, 2006; Alpha Epsilon Sigma; National Federation of Abstracting & Information Services Memorial Award, 1998; American Society for Information Science Achievement Award, 1996

Professional positions (for past 10 years): National Federation of Advanced Information Services, executive director, 2002– ; Chescot Publishing Inc., president/CEO, 1998–2002

Service in ACS national offices: Committee on Committees, 2012; Council Policy Committee, (voting), 2006–2011, (nonvoting), 1997–99; Committee on Nominations & Elections, 2000–05, vice chair, 2003, secretary, 2001; Committee on Divisional Activities, 1994–99, chair, 1997–99; Committee on Copyrights, 1990–98, chair, 1993–95, committee associate, 1989; Committee on Committees, Task Force on Publications/Copyrights Inter-Committee Relationship, 1999; Advisory Board for Industry Relations, 1997–99; Board Task Force on Technical Programming, 1998; Program Coordination Conference Committee, 1997–98; ACS Books Advisory Board, 1991–94; American Association for the Advancement of Science, Section T, representative, 1985–86

Service in ACS offices:Division of Chemical Information: councilor, 1992–2012; chair, 1989; chair-elect, 1988; secretary-treasurer, 1984–87; corresponding secretary, 1982; archivist, 2006– ; Publications Committee, chair, 1990–95; Chemical Bulletin, editor, 1977–83

Member: Member of ACS since 1972. IUPAC Committee on Print & Electronic Publishing; American Association for the Advancement of Science; Chemical Structure Association Trust, Board of Trustees; LYRASIS, Board of Trustees; Philospher’s Information Center, Board of Trustees. ACS Division: Chemical Information

Related activities: Chemical Structure Association Trust, board member, 1990– ; Philadelphia Free Library Technology Committee, 2012; Information Industry Association, board member, 1997–98; UMI Inc., (formerly University Microfilms, Inc.), general manager, Academic & Public Library Division, 1996–98; American Society for Information Science, board member, 1996–98; Program Advisory Board, chair, 1998– ; Delaware Valley Chapter, chair, 1994; secretary, 1992–94; chair of Technical Program Committee for 1995 Conference; National Federation of Abstracting & Information Services, president, 1989; Information Policy & Copyright Committee, chair, 1991– ; Annual Program Conference, chair, 1988; Annual NFAIS Yearbook, Editorial Advisory Board, 1990–94; The International Journal of Electronic Publishing, Editorial Advisory Board, 1993–96; TERI Information Digest of Energy, Editorial Advisory Board, 1991–95; Chemical Notation Association, president, 1980; secretary, 1976–79; American Institute of Chemists, Philadelphia Chapter, secretary, 1981–82; Database Publishing, Institute for Scientific Information, executive vice president, 1989–95


It is an honor to be a candidate for the American Chemical Society Board of Directors. Although my career has followed a nontraditional path, I am first and foremost a chemist, and I have enjoyed the rewards of active involvement in the society for many years.

But over those years emerging global economies, technological advances, and now a prolonged economic downturn have significantly altered the U.S. work environment. The trends of downsizing, outsourcing, and relocating business operations to foreign shores have resulted in fewer jobs and more work for those lucky enough to have a job. Today’s career choices can be influenced as much by future financial rewards as by personal passion. And limited discretionary income combined with work/family-related time constraints impact decisions related to professional memberships and volunteerism.

All professional organizations are being challenged to meet the changing needs of their profession, their members, and society in general. It is a challenge that I believe the ACS is well positioned to meet if it remains closely attuned to its members and can nimbly react to the external environmental changes that will continue to emerge.

What inspires that belief? Perhaps it is because the goals outlined in the 2012 ACS Strategic Plan resonate with my own personal perceptions of what our profession currently needs and wants—education, employment, and engagement. And it is in those areas that I would place my efforts if elected to the board.

Education is basic to the ACS mission. Outreach targeted to the general public and policymakers will ultimately effect a clearer understanding of the value that chemistry brings to everyday lives and can ultimately impact funding and support of chemical research (and jobs). High-quality, robust educational programs that build the real-life skills and knowledge required in today’s workplace are essential—beginning with K–12 (to attract the young to careers in science) through graduate school and beyond. Indeed, continuing education is essential for ACS members needing to refresh skills or learn new ones as their careers evolve. ACS webinars, leadership training, and online courses are an invaluable resource and a demonstrable member benefit that I strongly support.

Employment is on everyone’s mind—either gaining or retaining it. ACS cannot necessarily create jobs, but it plays a significant role in this arena. The educational efforts noted above are directly tied to employment. ACS’s support of entrepreneurship is yet another example. And an awareness of alternate careers that can make use of chemical knowledge and scientific reasoning is critical in the face of increased globalization, outsourcing, and a depressed market for laboratory positions, so that those with a love of chemistry will be encouraged to fulfill their passion. As one who has chosen a nontraditional career path, I can and will attest to the value provided by a chemistry degree.

Engagement is a key ingredient to retaining members and volunteers. The number one reward of my ACS involvement has been networking and interacting with members and staff. Again, this activity is multifaceted. It includes improved interactivity with members at large as well as increased/improved engagement with those already serving the society on committees and in governance. The ACS Network can enhance engagement, but it too needs improvement. We need to find a way to make ACS engagement more efficient, more rewarding, and less costly for volunteers.

All four candidates for director-at-large are experienced, have served ACS well for many years, are familiar with the inner workings of the organization, and are more than willing to work tirelessly and relentlessly for the well-being of the Society, its members, and the chemical profession. So why should you consider me?

I believe that I would bring several unique experiences and perspectives to the ACS Board of Directors. As the executive director of a nonprofit member organization, I deal on a daily basis with the challenges that ACS faces—growing and retaining membership, building and rewarding an active pool of volunteers, and balancing member benefits with fiscal responsibility. My experience and role in the information industry have given me an understanding of the global disruptive trends in scholarly communication that offer both opportunities and challenges to traditional information resources such as CAS and ACS journals. And from a financial perspective, my work experience has provided significant budget responsibility.

My years of service to the society have been enjoyable and rewarding, and I would be both honored and humbled if elected to serve on the board. I thank you in advance for your consideration.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Betty Skweir (December 19, 2014 11:28 AM)
My best wishes to you, Bonnie, for continued success in your endeavors. Betty Skweir (ISI co-worker ~ 1969 to 1985)

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