SLA Leadership Conference in Baltimore – report from John Coll | SLA Europe

John Coll is President Elect, SLA Europe and will take over as President in January 2016. This is his account of his trip to the SLA Leadership Conference in Baltimore last month.

The SLA Leadership Summit is an annual event and opportunity for new unit leaders to meet SLA staff and Board members. Around 200 members attended this event which ran over three days in total. Here are my key takeaways:

  • It was a great opportunity to meet representatives of other chapters and divisions with a considerable number there attending in the capacity as President-Elect for their respective chapters.
  • I was also able to meet some of the SLA Board as well as those involved at Cabinet level. This included the SLA Past-President Kate Arnold (from our very own SLA Europe Board), the President Jill Strand and the President-Elect, Tom Rink.
  • The Summit gave me a better understanding of how SLA works in terms of structure and governance and I even observed an open SLA Board Meeting while I was there.
  • The Summit also includes talks from the Author Steve Denning and Prof James Calvin, John Hopkins School of Business who gave the opening and closing keynote speeches on the topic of leadership.
  • The role of the newly appointed interim directors Cindy Shamel and Ulla de Stricker was clarified by the Board and both spoke on their role. They have been tasked by the Transition Committee with a 145 day review and reporting period to look at the following areas:
    • Market viability of the association
    • Membership levels and how we might address the downward trend
    • Revenue modelling
    • Financial review and modelling
    • Organisational review
    • New products and services
    • Conference models
    • Business partner relationships

Members are being encouraged to provide comments/thoughts/ideas on any of the above by emailing Cindy and Ulla at

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the Leadership Summit. As always, there was excellent opportunities to network with SLA colleagues and the warmth and hospitality shown by SLA and the people of Baltimore was very much appreciated. I look forward to catching up with those I met there as well as SLA Europe colleagues at the 2015 Conference in Boston.