Several years ago while attending WCQI, I found myself in a division hospitality suite in the corner with a distinguished gentleman who I had seen at many previous WCQIs but had never spoken with. I knew he owned a very successful consulting company and had been involved in the leadership of the Society at a high level (a Past ASQC President). I shared with him that that I was a current board member (yes, a little boasting). He proceeded to tell me how it “used to be” in terms of the composition of the board.
Decades ago, much effort was spent trying to get Vice Presidents of Quality from Fortune 500 businesses to serve at the top of the Society. Their involvement was paramount in gaining the support of other companies and advancing the “quality” agenda throughout North America. I then informed this quality titan that Orde Weaver (1976-77) came from Phillips Petroleum, a company I had worked for in my youth. I also told him that I had met William A. Golomski (1966-67) while I worked there as he was a consultant for our quality group. Yes, I was name dropping.
I can imagine back 50 years ago, these VPs of Quality or leaders in the field, had the full support of their companies, maybe were not on the clock all the time like current executives seem to be, and without cell phones or the internet, could spend time away from their regular job engaged in deep conversations about the state of quality in the world. Nowadays, it would be a challenge to get a VP of Quality or even a General Manager of Quality for a Fortune 500 corporation to commit to the amount of time an ASQ Chair has to. The hours and hours are huge: WCQI is a weeklong event, the other board meetings throughout the year take up precious time, there are biweekly and weekly calls with the leadership of the Society, plus the emails and possible speaking engagements. (One Past ASQ Chair gave me an estimate of how much consulting revenue he lost as being the chair.) So it isn’t all glamor, although at some early WCQIs I attended, Tuesday night was a black-tie banquet 😉
In Milwaukee there is a wall dedicated to these esteemed members who have led the Society through the good times and the no-so good times (photo shown). Several of these men and women have had Distinguished Service Medals or other honors named after them. They are regular people who have a deep passion for the quality profession. I have had the pleasure of “bending an elbow” with many of these fine folks.
My conversation with this gentleman ended that night and we went our separate ways. While he may not remember our conversation, it has stuck with me since then as we try to grow ASQ and its brand around the globe. Where do we find the star power of Philip Crosby or Armand V. Feigenbaum to bring the spotlight to ASQ so that it becomes a household name like other nonprofits like AARP or Red Cross? What leaders will inspire the next generation of quality professionals to join ASQ and lend their voices to our mission?
@Steven Schuelka Well said Steve! As another past President said, “The future is us”. The point being is that we are all members with a joint goal of leading quality into the future. Anyone with an us versus them mindset doesn’t understand this point. Thank you for what you do!