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Member and Global Activities

Robert Schober

Robert Schober



Ana Garcia Armada

Ana Garcia Armada

Vice President, Member and Global Activities

In this issue of IEEE Communication Magazine, I am pleased to introduce Ana Garcia Armada, Vice President for Member and Global Activities (MGA), who will share her plans for growing IEEE Communication Society (ComSoc) membership and for improving the services offered to our members even further by creating a ComSoc community, leveraging diversity, and empowering local Chapters and Student Branches.

Ana Garcia Armada is a Professor at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain, where she has held many management positions (Head of Signal Theory and Communications Department, Vice Dean of Electrical Engineering, Deputy Vice Chancellor of International Relations). She is an IEEE Fellow and serves on the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Communications and IEEE Open Journal of the Communications Society. She has been participating in the organization of many conferences, she is the General Chair of IEEE MeditCom, 2024, and was the General Chair of IEEE Globecom, 2021. She has been the Secretary and Chair of the IEEE ComSoc Women in Communications Engineering Standing Committee (WICE) and served as a Member-at-Large of the Board of Governors and Director of Online Content for IEEE ComSoc. She has published around 250 papers in journals and conferences and she holds five patents. She has received Outstanding Service Awards from IEEE ComSoc Signal Processing & Communications Electronics Technical Committee and from IEEE ComSoc WICE. She received the IEEE ComSoc/KICS Exemplary Global Service Award in 2022.

It is a great pleasure and honor to have been elected to serve as the Vice-President of Member and Global Activities (MGA) of IEEE ComSoc for a second term for 2024-2025. ComSoc is the third largest society in IEEE. ComSoc’s membership recently surpassed 34,000, a number that we had not reached in quite some time. ComSoc’s main goal is providing service and value to our members. By maintaining and fostering a vibrant community and creating value in each service we provide, we aim to keep our strong membership base while aiming to grow and bring new members who can both gain and add value to our society. Furthermore, we have a strong focus on fostering an inclusive community that attracts, welcomes, and celebrates the contributions from communications engineers from all geographic regions, career points, gender, and areas of practice. Leveraging the benefits that diversity and inclusion bring to our membership, we aim to strengthen and enhance our community.

For the next two years, we have set an ambitious strategic plan for the MGA team. We have defined several areas that we aim to improve, such as providing more benefits to ComSoc members that are not necessarily involved in conferences and publications; improving balance in several dimensions (region, gender, working sector, age, etc.) regarding ComSoc’s membership makeup, leadership, and recognition; supporting our Chapters to be more active and useful to members; and offering a better support to students. With these challenges in mind, the following main pillars will be developed under the MGA strategic plan:

  • Improve Value and Create Community.
  • Improve Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Empower Chapters and Student Branch Chapters.
  • Increase Membership and Retention.

Improving Value and Creating Community

We are continuously improving our understanding on how to best serve our members in both academia and industry, and we are proud to say that the satisfaction of ComSoc members has significantly increased according to our 2023 Member Survey. By working more closely with our Chapter leadership and their membership, we will continue to listen to their needs and support their work.

As a result of the Chapter and member feedback, we were able to create several new offerings in the last two years, including offering members two complimentary subscriptions to a journal/magazine, a mentoring program, the creation of an industry column in IEEE Communications Magazine and new industry summits, a monthly MGA newsletter that shares the most important information members need to know, new video and virtual offerings, and more. New programs specific to students were also launched: the Student Tech Leadership conference in April 2022, a Student Leadership track in November 2023, and the Student Recruitment Event initiated at ICC 2023. They will be continued in the next years, and we aim to improve them with a student portal and a career center to provide job opportunities and training. As a team, the MGA-Council, our regional directors, Young Professionals, and WICE are committed to creating more awareness of the incredible services ComSoc membership offers and to engage the local and global community.

Improving and Leveraging Diversity and Inclusion

ComSoc seeks to achieve a better balance in terms of gender, geographical region, working sector, age, and several other dimensions. We will continue developing an action plan to improve diversity, by creating a welcoming environment and providing guidance and opportunities for these groups to thrive. We will support and work closely with the WICE and Young Professionals (YP) standing committees to achieve this crucial goal. Among the initiatives that we started in the last two years and aim to continue growing are: the WICE and YP activities in flagship and smaller conferences that promote the visibility of and provide training and networking opportunities for young professionals and women in ComSoc; the support for childcare grants to assist during conferences attendance; the series of videos highlighting Women in Communications Engineering; and new programs addressing the digital divide, namely Internet for All launched in conjunction with IEEE’s Humanitarian Activities Board and the collaboration with IEEE Smart Village.

Empowering Chapters and Student Branch Chapters

ComSoc Chapters are the best instrument to understand and fulfill our members’ needs. With the help of our regional directors, we aim to understand these needs, provide a forum for sharing ideas and best practices, and implement simpler procedures for applying for funding when needed. We will continue to provide them training and have placed Chapters at the top of our strategic priorities. We have recently simplified the procedures and aim to enhance the Distinguished Lecturer Program (DLP) that connects renowned communications technology experts with ComSoc Chapters. We have started to provide funding to ComSoc Student Branch Chapters, so they can leverage and promote their ComSoc membership with activities for their members. An online Student Branch Resource Center was created to help them fulfill their mission. A Chapter chair communication community was created and has allowed Chapter leaders to share ideas and ask questions. A Sister Chapters pilot program has been launched to create new relationships, facilitating on sharing technical events and connecting members around the globe. All these initiatives started in the last two years will be further developed and improved.

Increasing Membership and Retention Rates

If we succeed in providing a more inclusive environment and better services and member satisfaction, our membership base will continue growing, as well as their satisfaction and willingness to continue with us. Our team will closely examine the available data to understand the strengths and weaknesses in different regions and focus on actions in those regions where there is a higher potential for growth. We will continuously increase our presence with partnerships and with events where ComSoc may be relevant, including IEEE HKN and other student events. This will be reinforced with several campaigns by email at conferences, and in social networks. Our relations with Sister Societies will be also leveraged.

We have a wonderful team of ComSoc volunteers and staff who are excited with the opportunity to advance towards these goals. Our regional leadership consists of Lingyang Song, as the Director of the Asia/Pacific Region; J. Javier Berrocal Olmeda, as the Director of the Europe, Middle-East and Africa Region; Yessica Saez, as the Director of the Latin America Region; and Besma Smida, as the Director of the North America Region. Moreover, Fawzi Behmann, who is serving as the Director of Industry Outreach; Ranga Rao Venkatesha Prasad, as the Director of Member Services Board; Toktam Mahmoodi, as the Chair of the WICE Standing Committee; and Virginia Pilloni, as the Chair of the YP Standing Committee. I am grateful to all of them, as well as to many other volunteers that are helping improve our services and relations, including Baek-Young Choi, heading our Sister Societies Committee; Andres Navarro, who will lead our Humanitarian Activities; Newman Wilson, overseeing our Mentoring initiative; and the countless others, which we, as a community, are grateful to have on our team.

We are also grateful to the volunteers that contributed with their work in the 2022–2023 term, such as Ricardo Veiga, former Director of Member Services. Among ComSoc Staff, I wish to mention Trish Jaraicie, Marketing and Membership Director, and Cindy Tiritilli, Senior Manager, Membership and Programs.

We are very honored to serve you, committed to listen, and will do our best to enhance our community. We will work on services and benefits that are significant to improve the member experience. Please feel free to contact us anytime if you have any ideas, comments, or suggestions. Thank you!