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ACS News

Helping Members Thrive In The Global Chemistry Enterprise

by Marinda Li Wu, ACS President
June 3, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 22

Marinda Li Wu, ACS President
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Photo of Marinda Li Wu, ACS President.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

The 245th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans this April was a great success. With more than 7,000 oral presentations and 4,500 posters submitted, the total attendance of almost 16,000—including nearly 6,000 students—exceeded expectations. The meeting provided several opportunities to support our members in this time of employment challenges and globalization. I have set this goal as a presidential priority for ACS, as detailed in previous articles (C&EN, Jan. 7, page 29, and March 11, page 33).

Leaders from academia, industry, government, and small business, as well as presidents of chemical societies from around the world focused on common issues, including how to help chemistry professionals succeed in today’s global chemistry marketplace.

During the national meeting, ACS launched a successful International Employment Initiative (IEI) with help from the society’s Department of Career Management & Development. Building upon the existing ACS Virtual Career Fair platform, we connected job seekers with international employers.

I hope we can extend this initial success with an even better IEI at the ACS national meeting in Indianapolis on Sept. 8–12. In fact, several employers have already agreed to repeat their participation. Please help spread the word about this new IEI. See more details at

For chemistry students and practitioners looking to enhance their careers with international experience, the ACS International Center ( has recently launched.

A lively press conference made a great kickoff for my presidential symposium at the national meeting on “Global Opportunities from Perspectives of U.S. Leaders,” followed by sessions on “Perspectives from International Leaders” and “Shared Experiences of Global Start-ups & Foreign Assignments” over the next two days.

Presentations and panel discussions will be available for viewing on ACS Presentations on Demand (, and proceedings will be published in an ACS Symposium Series book. I encourage you to refer to these resources for sage advice and stories of personal experience on how to succeed in these challenging times.

I was also pleased to host two Global Collaboration Roundtable discussions for leaders from the U.S. and around the world. The participants identified specific areas of shared focus, especially efforts to communicate with the public and policymakers about chemistry’s vital role in addressing the world’s challenges. The importance of scientific exchange programs and international collaboration was also highlighted.

The national meeting was also the scene of productive discussions about a set of recommendations for ACS that were developed last year by my presidential task force, “Vision 2025: Helping ACS Members Thrive in the Global Chemistry Enterprise.” The task force met in New Orleans with 26 stakeholder national ACS committees, divisions, and others to refine the following recommendations:

1. Better educate ACS members about the critical elements necessary for success in a broad spectrum of career paths.

2. Create an ACS umbrella platform to support entrepreneurship.

3. Engage and equip members with enhanced advocacy tools and training so that they can proactively contact their legislators to improve the business climate and aid job creation.

4. Explore with U.S. and global stakeholders the supply and demand of chemists and jobs to bring them to a better equilibrium.

5. Collaborate with others, including chemical societies around the world, to better address education, advocacy, chemical employment, communication with the public, and other topics of mutual interest.

6. Provide information, resources, advice, and assistance to ACS members interested in global job opportunities.

7. Expand ACS support for chemists and chemistry communities worldwide.

Stakeholder committees, divisions, and members provided good feedback and support to implement these recommendations. My task force and I continue to invite input to engage members at all regional meetings and wherever I go.

In addition, ACS Council participated in a lively discussion on “What else should ACS do to help members to thrive in the global chemistry enterprise?”

To further help members, we plan several informative presidential programs for the September ACS national meeting in Indianapolis. They will include a career advancement opportunities symposium, an innovation and entrepreneurship symposium, a diversity symposium to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Committee on Minority Affairs, and a workshop providing training and resources for advocacy to help improve the U.S. business and job climate.

In challenging times like these, ACS must focus on helping members and empowering them with networks, opportunities, resources, and skills to thrive in the global economy. This goal supports the society’s mission to “Advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.”

I truly believe that we are all “Partners for Progress and Prosperity.” I’d love to hear from you at

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



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