Dr. Addy Alt-Holland

Dear SIVB members, colleagues, and students,

As 2023 comes to an end, and we look forward to welcome 2024, it is a good time to pause and reflect on the challenges we faced, appreciate what has been accomplished, and – most importantly – be grateful for the people around us who support our personal and professional journeys.

Looking backwards, losing Marietta Wheaton Saunders, our fearless director who guided the organization for over 30 years, was the biggest challenge that the SIVB had faced this year. Marietta had created New Beginnings Management (NBM), an external Management Company that supported SIVB since June 2004. At that time, the SIVB was at grave risk of closing its doors, and Marietta worked tirelessly to save the Society by alleviating its expenses. NBM took over many of SIVB’s financial responsibilities, but, with Marietta’s loss, her company dissolved. The SIVB’s Board of Directors (BoD) had to work rapidly not only to preserve the Society’s past and history, but to also protect its future and sustainability. In August 2023, following the conclusion of the 2023 Meeting in Norfolk, VA, and multiple SIVB’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors meetings, SIVB welcomed Innovative Essentials (IE) as its new Management Company. Created at the same time when Marietta formed NBM, IE was hired by NBM to support SIVB. Now, with more than two decades of experience in providing sound management services for many non-profit organizations, IE and its President, Michele Schultz, are honored to continue Marietta’s legacy in serving the SIVB.

As many of you know, Michele was Marietta’s right hand for the last 24 years. She brings with her extensive years of personal knowledge regarding the Society’s history, infrastructure, and day-to-day operations. She has a deep understanding of the organization and is a familiar and comforting face to many SIVB members. Michele began her work with the SIVB in 1999 as an Administrative Assistant, before transitioning into Publications Manager in 2001. Prior to that, as a BFA graduate of Rutgers University with academic honors, Michele worked for a variety of companies including the Dale Carnegie Institute of NYC, Air Conditioning Contractors of America, and even Bloomingdale’s in their prestigious New York City store. Up through February 2023, she managed the SIVB’s publications, and communicated with all outside vendors and website content providers. She also created some of SIVB’s graphic design, website editing, video marketing, and social engagement materials. Through her close work with Marietta, Michele learned multiple aspects of SIVB operations, from administrative support needs to contracting, meeting planning and coordination, membership management and governance. In March of 2023, Michele assumed the role of Acting Managing Director, and has now been named the SIVB’s Managing Director.

The Innovative Essentials team supporting SIVB includes Michele Schultz, Managing Director; Sally Dodson, Administrative Assistant; and David Olsher, Meetings and Administrative Coordinator

In addition to Michele, the team at Innovative Essentials includes David Olsher and Sally Dodson. Sally joins the SIVB with 40 years of customer service experience. She began in upscale retail, working in the Customer Care Center of the Airlines Reporting Corporation. She transitioned to the corporate travel department of Travel Leaders, a travel management company. With COVID-19 pandemic, Sally made another move in the travel/service industry with Wyndham. She has ample experience in accounting support, reporting, computer program trouble-shooting, and other administrative support skills. David, IE’s newest team member, has over two decades of experience in a variety of administrative and support roles in higher education and the arts, including the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre, Lehigh University, Johns Hopkins University, and Maryland University of Integrative Health. Among other activities, David has provided services in event coordination and logistics, operations, sales and marketing, presentation and education, as well as grant writing and administration. Both Sally and David are excited to be part of IE and support the SIVB and its mission. On behalf of the SIVB’s Board of Directors and entire membership, we welcome the Innovative Essentials’ team and its support in guiding our Society into the future.

Looking forward to 2024, the SIVB’s World Congress on In Vitro Biology will be held from Saturday, June 8th to Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in St. Louis, Missouri, the heart of mid-America’s Biotechnology Community. The SIVB’s Fall Board of Directors Meeting was held on October 27-29, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch, the official hotel of the 2024 World Congress. We had the opportunity to tour the meeting facilities and the contemporary environment of this hotel, which is located on the waterfront of St. Louis next to the St. Louis Arch and offers spectacular dining and sightseeing opportunities nearby! Chaired by Kolla Kristjansdottir and the Vice Chairs for Meeting Ken Kandaras (IVACS) and Ahmad Omar (PB), the 2024 Program Committee is preparing an outstanding schedule of symposia, contributed papers, separated oral presentation competitions for students and post-docs, lightning talks sessions, and poster presentations. Together with the SIVB Business Office, the Local Organizing Committee, Co-Chaired by Cynthia L. Goodman and Veena Veena, are working tirelessly to organize multiple socially and educationally engaging activities, including the Tuesday Social event and the Wednesday scientific tours. With the guidance of Brad L. Upham, student-led activities are being prepared by the student co-Chairs Jasmyn M. Hoeger and Babak Senfi from IVACS together with Christina Yevtushenko and Prasanna Valavanur Shekar from PB. Exciting scientific events, terrific networking, multiple students and post-doc opportunities, and numerous possibilities to share your research are waiting for you at the 2024 SIVB World Congress on In Vitro Biology! Please renew your SIVB membership, register to the meeting and submit your research abstract for this meeting. Congress Program updates, more information, and important dates can be found here.

As we welcome the holiday season, I want to thank all of you – the SIVB Board of Directors, Business Office, Committee Chairs, and members, as well as the broader SIVB family of members, post-docs, and students – for your ongoing support of the SIVB. Please follow us, spread the word and share the benefits of the SIVB’s World Congress on your Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Zoom channels, stay engaged and encourage your networks, and other key stakeholders to register for the 2024 World Congress and become SIVB members. The SIVB’s Ad Hoc Social Engagement Committee prepared multiple backgrounds that you could use. Don’t forget to use our official hashtags when you post about the 2024 World Congress. Use @SIVBiology to tag the Society for In Vitro Biology, and #SIVB2024 to mention the 2024 World Congress.

In closing this President’s Report, I would also like to thank Allan Wenck and his Nominating Committee for their diligent work of assembling a strong slate of candidates for the 2024 – 2026 SIVB Officers elections. I would also like to thank all the candidates who have agreed to run for the different offices in service to our Society; the SIVB actively encourages participation by members at all stages of their careers and years of membership. This is not a trivial commitment of energy and time, but it is very rewarding. I also wanted to thank SIVB members who took the time to vote for the 2024 – 2026 In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences and Plant Biotechnology Section Officers, as well as for the SIVB’s Board of Directors and Officers by the closing date of December 28, 2023. EVERY vote helps to shape the Society and its future!

Whatever your traditions are at this time of year, on behalf of the SIVB’s Business Office, the Board of Directors, and myself, we wish you a healthy, peaceful and joyful transition to 2024!

Addy Alt-Holland, Ph.D., Ms.C.
SIVB President

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