President's Letter - November 2020

Written by  Dr Susan Northfield, MRACI

Published 2 November 2020

Dear RACI Victorian Branch community,

In the last month our state has made tremendous progress in our fight against COVID-19. We’ve seen multiple ‘doughnut days’ already, and we can look forward to more to come. The resulting gradual easing of lockdown restrictions has meant that we have been able to safely see more of our family and friends and get a taste of what we all used to consider ‘normal’. Wherever you find yourself in Victoria, I hope you are safe and well, and enjoying some well-earned respite from lockdown.

As we approach the end of 2020, our Branch has been reflecting on this year and what we’ve done to adapt to the pandemic. As the hardest-hit state in Australia by COVID-19, we can be proud of how we adapted to engaging solely online, as well as the activities and content that have been developed by the Branch for our Victorian members. However, none of it would have been successful if it weren’t for all of you engaging with us. We thank you sincerely for your support, and we will strive to continue to offer you professional support, engagement and quality content. 

What you may not know about the Victorian Branch is that we have twelve special interest groups that operate under the umbrella of our Branch. This makes us the second-biggest branch in the country, and one of the most active. In 2021 we will be profiling our groups for you – I encourage you to engage with multiple groups from our branch. You can view their upcoming activities under the ‘Events’ section of the RACI website. 

The pandemic has also been a prompt for us to create a new operating forum for our Branch, in which senior members of the Branch committee regularly meet with the Chairs of each of our Groups. Among the activities of this forum is sharing our learnings from adapting to delivering events so that we can continue to evolve our membership engagement. The overarching goal is to strengthen and support all our Groups for 2021 and beyond. We had our first meeting at the end of October, and it was a productive and synergistic meeting for us all. I was delighted at how quickly we all started to identify new links between Groups, and ways we can all support each other. All the Chairs have a clear vision for their Groups and are welcoming of new opportunities. It is my pleasure to work with them all, and I can tell you that you have some hard-working and passionate individuals running our Groups who are eager to support our Victorian members.

I want to finish by acknowledging the winners of the first of our VIC Branch Awards for 2020. Congratulations to Candice Chan (Uni Lab Tech of the Year, 2020), Pam Arnold (School Lab Tech of the Year, 2020), and Vanessa Jackson-McRae (Teacher of the Year, 2020). We look forward to celebrating with you at our online Awards Night on November 16th (members can register online via the RACI website). The evening will include announcement of some additional awards, and a presentation from the 2020 Hartung Lecture winner, Dr Jessica Holien. We hope you can all join us to celebrate these successes! 

Best wishes to you all!

Dr Susan Northfield
RACI VIC Branch President


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