Upon former Executive Director Ken Spengler’s death this summer, Andy White commented in The Front Page, “Ken made me feel like the most important member of the Society. I soon noticed he was that way with everyone.” Added John Lanicci, “The AMS is a lot like a close-knit family, and a much of that credit goes to Ken Spengler for his leadership, and always making you feel welcome, whether you were a newcomer like I was, or a member for 20 or 30 years.”
The AMS Beacons Program, a new initiative of the Membership Committee, is designed to carry on this special legacy of Dr. Spengler’s, fostering the AMS as an open, inclusive, and welcoming organization. The Beacons program is an ambassador program with a “member-staffed goodwill team” reflecting AMS’ initiatives to serve its existing, returning, and potentially new members. AMS Beacons will serve the AMS Executive Director and assist with Society and membership-related functions as deemed necessary or appropriate at AMS annual, specialty, and local chapter meetings and other functions.
The word “beacon” is defined as “a source of light or other signal for guidance; a source of light or inspiration.” This is what the Beacons aim to be for those who participate in the Society’s activities.
The 91st AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, will be the “pilot” effort of the Beacons program. Beacons will be a friendly face, providing assistance and help to attendees–from the first time attendee who needs directions, to a regular attendee who might need some timely and thoughtful advice.
Beacons will have a significant presence at the New Attendee Briefing on Sunday, will be stationed at key locations (e.g., registration area, entryways, meetings with large gatherings, etc.), and informally greet and assist as they move throughout the venue during the week. As a volunteer, complementary resource to the AMS staff, Beacons will be trained on what questions and information should be referred to AMS staff members.
Watch for signs at the meeting, and posts on this blog, AMS Facebook and Twitter (#91stAMS) feeds for more about the role of Beacons.