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IEEE ComSoc Staff – Enabling Volunteers!

Sherman Shen

Xuemin (Sherman) Shen

Past President


IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) owes its success to the partnership between passionate volunteers and the dedicated staff who support them. ComSoc volunteers are made up of engineers, scientists, practitioners, academics, and thought leaders in communications technology dedicated to the betterment of humanity. The efforts of the volunteers in this community impact the sharing of information globally as well as establishing connections and collaborations among the network of members and volunteers. By establishing a talented and dedicated staff team, ComSoc provides more resources to help reduce the workload on the volunteers. Volunteers and staff work as a team to make ComSoc a success in our efforts to transform communications technology.

The volunteers are the heart of ComSoc and are enabled and supported by the ComSoc staff who are a group of passionate and dedicated experts that support the vision of ComSoc leaders. Volunteer roles change with each new administration as the newly elected leaders establish the various assemblies, and leaders needed to continue the work in publications, conferences, standards, education, and member activities. On the other hand, the ComSoc staff who support our volunteers provide the institutional knowledge and stability to enable their success. The volunteers can get the support they need from the dedicated staff who strive to provide the necessary resources for volunteers to contribute to the success of ComSoc.

ComSoc volunteers can contribute in different roles that interest them and that provide opportunities to expand their knowledge, while gaining valuable management and leadership skills. They are supported by a team of competent, passionate staff. ComSoc staff are dedicated to the four main areas where you may volunteer: Publications Council, Technical and Educational Activities Council, Conferences Council, and Member and Global Activities Council.

Opportunities for volunteering with the Publications Council allow you to get involved with the leading journals, transactions, letters, and magazines in communication engineering and other related technologies that ComSoc publishes. The publications staff work with volunteers on the strategic direction of the portfolio to ensure it is competitive in the market. In tandem with the ComSoc Publications Director, the types of goals include the adoption of new tools, establishing editorial workflows, ethics policies and overall procedures that are established. The staff also helps volunteers who serve as a member of an editorial board for the journals, magazines, and online content. Such practice facilitates the volunteers to influence the strategy and direction of the publications with their technical expertise and insights.

When volunteering with the ComSoc Technical and Educational Activities Council, or any of the associated boards and committees, you will be involved with a broad range of communications and communications-related technical areas in support of the educational and technical interests of the Society. The staff dedicated to Technical and Educational Activities has the experience and expertise to ensure that the policies and procedures are followed and to enable the volunteers to maximize the effectiveness of their volunteer time. Templates, guidelines, checklists, and other resources are provided to maintain consistency in the global programs, events, and activities initiated by these assemblies. Without needing to be experts in the administrative details, volunteers are free to focus on the emerging technical topics in communications and establish new ways of moving our industry forward.

For those choosing to volunteer to support the Conferences Council and its extensive portfolio of nearly 40 conferences, workshops and summits, you will have the support of experienced staff with over 85 years of collective experience who have expertise in how to run events, big and small, all over the world. The staff provides support in many areas including, but not limited to, contract negotiations, budget development, pre-conference and onsite logistics, as well as navigating IEEE processes, such as conference applications, contract management, and sponsorship sales. As a volunteer, you can spend more of your time focusing on the technical program, publicity, industry outreach, and networking opportunities.

If your primary interests are focused on programs related to members, chapters, membership development, sister and related Societies, and Society Regions, your volunteer efforts will support the Member and Global Activities (MGA) Council. If you choose to consider leadership positions in your local chapter or with the regional board, you will have the support of dedicated ComSoc staff who constantly work to establish and support programs and opportunities for the chapters. This includes providing training on IEEE systems, partnering or connecting you with other chapter leaders with similar interests, connecting you on how to use the Distinguished Lecturer program, information on gaining chapter funding to support recruitment or retention events, how to have local members elevated to Senior member, and so on. The membership staff also support our Young Professionals and Women in Communications Engineering efforts. ComSoc staff supports each unit’s marketing and technology needs. These staff members touch every piece of the ComSoc strategic plan and business operations from creating and supporting our main website, and our many conference, technical committee, and chapter websites, to the email and social media messages, to help keep our community informed.

The contributions of the volunteers are immeasurable as the ripple effect of their work impacts new students entering the world of electrical engineering, the local chapters bringing education and networking to local professionals, and individuals interacting with ComSoc online via our websites or online training or at one of our in-person conferences. These efforts are magnified by the support that ComSoc staff provides to every volunteer. The key to the success of the Society is the partnership between the volunteers and our ComSoc staff.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, I encourage you to visit each assembly’s website on or visit If you still have questions, please email and our staff will be happy to answer your questions and connect you with the right committee.

Thank you to Cyn Sikora — ComSoc’s Director of Industry Outreach and Technical Activities, Trish Jaraicie — ComSoc’s Director of Marketing and Membership, Christina Keller — ComSoc’s Director of Publications, and Kristine Chin — ComSoc’s Director of Conferences, for helping to put this article together.