My thoughts as President as I begin my first year.
I would like to take a moment to share with you my thoughts about the Institute and our goals for the next two years and beyond.
The Institute today is a strong, outward looking organisation. Our educational suite continues to help industry professionals at all levels to grow. But our true strength is our membership. Our collective knowledge, experience and skills form an invaluable resource, sought out and relied upon by governments and professionals the world over.
This strength cannot be taken for granted. There are countries where the Institute has so far fallen short of its potential, and this must not be allowed to continue. We must redouble our efforts to expand, seeking to understand the unique demands, opportunities and challenges these regions face. We must learn to address them effectively and efficiently, and ensure our help is widely accessible. Only then will our Institute grow the way it has in other countries, becoming the same keystone membership organisation in the logistics and transport industry it is around the world.
Furthermore, we must ensure we remain relevant to those already in our family. Continuing to offer professional development for all our members not only enables us to grow personally, but is vital to the future of the Institute.
Although a diverse organisation, professionally and geographically, we must do more to ensure all sectors are represented, be that road, rail, maritime or aviation, planning or delivery. Widening our membership and deepening our understanding improves not only ourselves but our ability to help others. Our UK territory has been very successful in this regard. Their policy of engaging with the top fifty national companies has paid dividends and is a practice I would see replicated throughout the Institute.
Women and Young Professionals
As I said in my mission statement we must not just enable today’s leaders but nurture tomorrow’s. Therefore, I want to see every council reporting to the 2017 Convention that there is a least one Young Professional on their National Council. However, we must not just ask ourselves what we can teach our younger members, but what we can learn from them. Engagement with social media and other platforms, as well as technology in general is critical to anyone working within our industry. We must look to harness these emerging skillsets to ensure we remain effective and relevant in a changing world.
Diversification of our Institute means not just a balanced age range, but a balanced gender ratio. I am greatly encouraged by the excellent work of WiLAT and urge all branches and territories to study the positive changes they are making. Learning from and building on their experiences and achievements will help our organisation better reflect the world in which it exists.
Our Strategy, Business Plans and our Brand
Our international identity has been enhanced considerably since the universal adoption of our unique logo in Dublin some years ago. We must ensure we gain traction on our global reputation and increase our political co-operation. By staying true to our values, relying on our strengths and listening to the individual needs of our members, their colleagues and the organisations they work with, we can ensure we engage not as lobbyists but as partners and trusted advisors.
As you will be aware, it is now incumbent on all councils to provide business plans to the Secretariat in order to promote self-reliance, sustainability and expansion. As an organisation, we must ensure we meet the same high standards we seek to project around the world.
Part of the work laying the foundations for a prosperous and sustainable future is to encourage and engage with talent wherever we see it. Today’s Members are tomorrow’s Fellows, but we must not leave succession planning for another day, nor allow our member base to become imbalanced. We must encourage the brightest and best to involve themselves further in our organisation, becoming Fellows and taking on the responsibility of leading our Institute into the future.
One of the highlights of the CILT calendar is the Annual Convention. This year we head to Macao, and I look forward to meeting many of you and sharing experiences in such a vibrant place.
Reflective of the changing nature of our industry, the Convention is being organised around the theme ‘Smart Journey, Belt and Road’. I am excited to hear first-hand how technology continues to change not only what we do, but how we think about things.
We are a diverse family and we have strength in numbers. Meeting together creates one of the few truly global conversations in the logistics and transport industry, and a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and share best practice. I hope you are all able to attend.
Over our first 100 years, we as an Institute have been on a remarkable journey. We can be proud of our achievements and our successes. In the decades to come we must stay true to these ideals, grow to encompass more countries, continue to set the industry standard in education and qualifications, and remain the first choice for all transport and logistics professionals the world over.
Kevin Byrne, Lt Col (Retired) BA, MSc, CertSL, FCILT