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Jenny Baker
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President’s Column: Still Moving Forward

Georgia T. Chao

If you can’t fly, run

If you can’t run, walk

If you can’t walk, crawl

But by all means, keep moving.

Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967 speech to students at Barrot Junior High School in Philadelphia, PA


I opened my first President’s Column with the above quote, and I repeat it here for my last column. Given many of the events in the past year, MLK, Jr.’s words have inspired me to focus on SIOP’s progress with many challenges, including the following: (a) the cancellations of all in-person SIOP events, (b) the uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, (c) a SIOP statement and SIOP Foundation work to help combat racism, (d) the adoption of a new anti-harassment policy for SIOP, (e) development of a 3-year strategic plan, and (f) advocacy efforts to help our federal government understand how I-O psychology can help improve defense and security, education and training, health and well-being, and diversity and inclusion. These works, and many others, were described in my last column.

The Administrative Office (AO) and Executive Board (EB) continue to work for you. In 2021, we have identified action steps to help implement SIOP’s new strategic plan. In order to help protect our members from the pandemic, the annual conference that was originally designed to be a hybrid in-person/virtual conference transitioned to an all-virtual format. Many thanks to Whitney Botsford Morgan, Emily Solberg, and Rob Michel for their hard work to add new technologies and interactive options for presenters and attendees at this new and improved virtual conference!

SIOP’s financial health remains a primary concern for the EB and AO. Our losses are difficult to pin down, but they are on track to be substantially less than the million-dollar-plus deficit that was budgeted. We mitigated contractual obligations by partnering with the Hilton New Orleans Riverside (original site of this year’s annual conference) to hold our 2026 conference at that property. Final registration numbers from this year’s conference and a robust dues renewal effort in May and June will help determine our future financial health.

In early March, a new challenge emerged for SIOP. HBO Max began streaming a documentary titled Persona: The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests. Although the documentary presents some historical truths, it also makes a number of inaccurate and misleading assertions, potentially undermining good science and practice involving legitimate uses of personality assessments in the workplace. SIOP posted a response to this documentary on our website, and we are working with APA to raise awareness on how scientifically based, professionally developed personality assessments can be used by organizations. A new task force, chaired by Christopher Nye, will be developing additional resources to inform general audiences, as well as our members, on the science behind personality assessment.

There was a tremendous amount of work from about 1,000 SIOP member volunteers to keep SIOP and I-O psychology moving forward. I am extremely grateful to all who have helped! Special recognition goes to the EB, AO, and all of SIOP’s committee chairs for their contributions to SIOP during a most difficult year. It was an honor and privilege to serve as your president, and I’m confident that SIOP will continue to Move Forward! 

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