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How Can IEEE Be More Diverse and Make Your IEEE Membership More Valuable to You?

Professor Saifur Rahman discussing with students
Prof. Saifur Rahman discussing with students

I would like to see IEEE focus more on giving opportunities to young professionals including women and minorities to play greater roles in the organization’s activities, as well as fostering greater geographic diversity. Region 10 held an event in 2020 to support these efforts for the Students, Young Professionals, Women and Life Members. This was held virtually with the theme “Pandemic to Opportunity—Collaborative Leadership Toward Technology Advancement for Humanity.” This Congress enabled students and young professionals to explore new modes of collaboration and discover meaningful ways to advance technology both during and after the pandemic. I would like to see such events held across all ten regions of IEEE.

Over the past 40+ years, IEEE has been an integral part of my pursuit of excellence in professional life. Keeping that in mind, I have developed a 6 Point vision where we pledge to build and develop networking, career and partnership opportunities, along with many other integral initiatives such as service to humanity through Smart Engineering, partnership to support Entrepreneurship, and Global Community Building. Here are some examples of initiatives I plan to put forward to make the IEEE Membership more valuable

Highlight Networking Opportunities at IEEE Events:
IEEE organizes or supports over 2,000 technical conferences annually all over the world. In addition, local IEEE sections and chapters organize and hold hundreds more seminars, webinars and workshops. This means most IEEE members or members-to-be can find an IEEE event close to where they live and work. Attending such events – either live or virtually – will give technologists access to experts in their fields of interest. Such personal relationships can not only help answer questions, but these will also offer technologists at the local level more ways to explore new opportunities for themselves.

Reach Out Proactively to Women and Underrepresented Minorities:
Women and understated minorities are significantly underrepresented in the higher levels of IEEE volunteer structure compared to their numbers in IEEE general membership.  I plan to find their role models to help them to contribute more in the workings of IEEE. This activity will extend from college students to young professionals to higher grade members of IEEE.

Ensure Financial Transparency, Stability:
IEEE’s financial transparency is an important consideration for members to take ownership in IEEE. IEEE is a large and diverse organization with more than 400,000 members in over 160 countries, and a half-a-billion dollar annual budget. Primary income sources are journals/magazines, conferences, membership dues, standards and education products. At the same time IEEE offers many member services. Members have the right to know how the IEEE funds are distributed among its various functions. This kind of financial transparency is important in any member-driven organization. Even though IEEE has a proven record of financial stability, the benefits members get need to be articulated more carefully. These are some of the areas I would like to focus on if I am elected the President of IEEE in the upcoming election.

Encourage and Recognize Member Engagement:
I would like to make it easier for technology professionals without a college degree to join IEEE, and more directly recognize contributions our volunteers make through committee work and paper reviews.  I will also provide more resources to help members elevate themselves and others to IEEE Senior Members and IEEE Fellows.

The 2021 IEEE Annual Election will start on 16 August and end on 1 October 2021 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time USA (16:00 UTC).  Information about the IEEE President-Elect candidates can be found here.   

To learn more about IEEE elections go to IEEE – IEEE Annual Election

Saifur Rahman
Virginia Tech

Saifur Rahman

Saifur Rahman