Our Chapter has been active for years. In 1995, we set for ourselves a
new vision and a new approach. The goal is to make a difference and to
be useful to the community in general, and members in particular, in
harmony with Society’s objectives.
To achieve this goal, we simply need to reach out, and moreover, attract
participation and involvement. This, in turn, brings up new
- Whom to reach out to?
- How to reach out?
- How to get attention and win participation?
- How to maintain continuity and growth?
We realized, and many other Chapters have probably experienced, that
just finding a speaker, looking after the arrangements, running an
advertisement in the newsletter, or even sending a mail-out to all
members would not do! To explain why, let’s try to answer the above
questions. We may consider multiple dimensions in answering whom the
Chapter should reach out to. On the one hand, there are multiple levels
from high schools, to college and university students, to professionals.
On the other hand, the new environment consisting of technology, market
and regulatory drivers, integration of services, convergence of
industries, competition, globalization, market liberalization and
alliances have created a broad spectrum of topics (within and around
telecommunications) and linked to that, many new players. This spans
across academia, government and public agencies, banks and enterprises,
utilities, management and consulting firms, a broad array of industries,
and many interested individuals are interested in these topics.
The key theme of our Chapter’s vision and framework for activities is to
not only adapt to this new environment but take a leadership role in it
to make a true difference. We have consciously followed steps to try to
include all and to try to cover all! We have called this a Total
Approach! Right here, it becomes obvious that the questions of who to
reach out to, how to reach out to, and what to bring in order to win
their continuous participation are hard to separate. Who they are
suggests what they would be interested in and how they can be reached
out to. This reaching out and interaction with members and non-members
on a local level and bringing technical seminars, tours and tutorials,
to social and student activities, membership programs and others, is
very much in harmony with IEEE goals and the Society’s objectives and
We have taken new steps in the past few years to invite a broad range of
expert speakers from universities, industries, major consulting firms,
.. outside the Chapter, and offer numerous
technical seminars. These cover such range of topics as ATM and High
Speed Networking, CATV, LMDS and other Broadband Access, Emerging
Residential Video Services, Video Compression, Future Networks, Optical
Networks, Multimedia, Trends in Software Technologies, Internet,
Wireless/PCS, Microwave and Millimeterwave Applications, Satellites,
Industry Trends and Regulatory Developments. This variety of ‘hot’
topics and a persistent effort to bring in expert speakers have been
essential for our Chapter to be useful at all, and to expect members and
non-members to participate and even further their level of involvement.
Organizations have become increasingly efficient and more
knowledge-based. Individuals have less free time and travel relatively
long distances between work, home and other activities. This means the
only way to attract them, and rightfully so, is to respond to their
needs, in the new dynamic, diverse and efficient environment. In so far
as the content goes, the broad range of hot topics referred to earlier,
with emphasis on new and emerging technologies, applications and trends,
offered by expert speakers, does indeed respond to (knowledge) needs in
this new environment. In addition, participants get further rewarded by
networking with others, and by attending an ensemble of Chapter events
to get a better grasp of the promised end-to-end picture.
Our technical events have taken a variety of formats: an hour-long
presentation preceded by a reception, a half or full day workshop with
multiple speakers, half-day tutorials, or a cluster of seminar series.
They have been general (open to all) or targeted. This brings in another
important aspect of Toronto Chapter’s activities: ‘inviting in" versus
"going out to"! Events for targeted groups and on-site delivery demand
particular attention and, sometimes, greater effort, although they may
be less frequent in comparison. Our Chapter has visited and given
seminars/talks to high schools, colleges, university student events,
professional organizations in nearby towns, Toronto Technology Network
luncheon, Professional Engineers of Ontario, Toronto High-Tech Show, and
several other events. We have expanded our policy of inclusion through
co-sponsoring events with other Chapters within Toronto Section, with
other Sections such as IEEE Peterborough, with the Society Chapters,
such as North Jersey and Ottawa (on Society’s Tour of Distinguished
Speaker), and with local conferences and workshops.
We have learned that creating a dynamic network of participants,
expanding on that, and maintaining regular liaison help our continuity
and growth a great deal. The Toronto Chapter maintains its liaison with
the core participants, with members and with the community on many
levels, from Internet, to newsletters and flyers, announcements and
personal liaison. It does take effort, useful plans and programs and
persistence to keep this network together and to bring in new
Our goal remains the same: reach out, take leadership role, and make a
true difference, in ways expected of IEEE Communications Society local
Chapter. We have tried to take a Total Approach, consistent with the new
environment, to attract participation, maintain continuity and growth,
and respond to the knowledge needs and interests of our members and of
our community as a whole. We have been rewarded by some success, but
this remains a continuous challenge. The good part is that it is a truly
worthwhile and continuously rewarding exercise!