Connect with Chemists

Description. At the beginning of 2014, the local section initiated a monthly program called Connect with Chemists. Our monthly dinner meetings are usually on Thursdays from 6 to 9 PM. The meeting consists of a social hour, followed by dinner and a seminar. A number of our members expressed concern about driving in traffic to attend the meetings and the expense of the dinners. To provide another forum for members to meet, Ean Warren (2014 Chair, local section) initiated meetings at cafés at 7 in the morning to chat to fellow chemists. The first event was on January 23 at 7 AM in Palo Alto. Ean encouraged members to attend so that they could network with other chemists and discuss nearly anything. Everyone was welcome to come and participate.The location was moved around our local section from Santa Clara to South San Francisco. We met in Palo Alto every month and Santa Clara and South San Francisco every other month at local cafés with large tables. Participants ordered their own drinks and food.

Participation. The response was varied. The Palo Alto events had more attendance than the others. Six members joined Ean at the first event in Palo Alto. The other events had 2-4 participants. The Connect with Chemists in Santa Clara and South San Francisco were not as successful. Santa Clara had 2-3 participants. No one, besides another Executive Committee member showed up in South San Francisco.

Advantages. There are a number of advantages to this program. There are no costs to the section associated with these events as cafes did not charge for the tables and participants paid for their own drinks and food. These events can happen whenever anyone is available. Ean chose Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 7:00 AM so people (including Ean) could get together before work. The locations he chose were also spread across the Section, giving members the option of going to a location near their home or work. Finally, Connect with Chemists gave Ean an opportunity talk directly to members.

Lessons. Ean was happy with the response to Connect with Chemists from Palo Alto but somewhat disappointed in South San Francisco. One reason for the low response may be because people go to work at different times during the morning. Considering he had to work also, he could attend at other times. Perhaps holding a happy hour would work better for those people who leave their jobs later in the day. The people who did show up generally were either retired or looking for work. In the end, Ean felt the Section should do more to help our members find jobs. As the Chair of the Section, he wrote a Chair’s message asking for assistance in forming a task force to look into the issue. This is still in the process of forming.

--Ean Warren

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