24 Oct 2023

My first month at the RMS: Chief Executive Sali Davis

Sali reflects on her first 28 days at the Society

Well, they say a week is a long time in politics and I am now a full 28 moon cycle days into working at the RMS.

A lot has happened. I do wonder if I will be like Tony Blair, who entered No 10 all those years ago with a full head of hair and a fresh complexion, only to emerge all those years later, grey and pale. I think not if my first month is anything to go by!

I have had the warmest welcome from my new colleagues at the RMS Office, and from all the members I have met so far.  During my first month I have met with the team in Oxford and attended my first tranche of Executive, Council and section meetings.  I have attended several official engagements, such as the awe-inspiring IRIS awards at The Crick, where committee member Alex Ball and his team won an award for their  Hitachi Global STEM Outreach Project - an RMS-supported initiative offering schools the free loan of Tabletop SEMs. I was also proud to attend the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Commemoration at The Royal Society, where History Committee Chair, John Hutchison, had been invited to talk about the history of the RMS. 

I have been reviewing in earnest the RMS Risk Strategy for the next five years against the backdrop of the desire for our membership to support the Journal of Microscopy by submitting high standard articles.   As a team we have to ensure we also deliver consistently excellent events and courses in a financial climate that is experiencing significant hikes in inflation. I’ve been increasingly impressed with the variety of courses, workshops and events that our small team are able to deliver across the country within such a small space of time. They do a great job ensuring the needs of delegates are met and managing the expectations of sponsors - operating at all times within financial resources, meeting targets on Sustainability, and fulfilling our commitments on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access (EDIA).

Above all, I see a very exciting future for the RMS. The reputation of the Society and the legacy that my predecessor, Allison Winton has created speaks volumes about how our stakeholders want to work with us to deliver our charitable aims - advancing science, developing careers and supporting wider understanding of science and microscopy through our Outreach activities.  I have witnessed first-hand how our section chairs and committee members are working hard to ensure that we are doing just that, and we will continue to review the way we work as committees, sections and focussed interest groups (FIGs). I will also be reviewing the governance structure and ensuring we are meeting the needs of members, using our RMS ambassadors and utilising the experience and skill sets of our corporate members, offering competitive rates and incentives. 

I look forward to reporting back to you, maybe with a few more strands of grey hair but not anywhere near the offices at 10 Downing Street; I think I will be staying put at 37-38 St Clements!