Report From the November 2020 ESA Governing Board Meeting

December 2, 2020

The ESA Governing Board meets at least four times per year to discuss strategic initiatives, oversee the work of staff and volunteers, and advance new ideas to benefit the Society. A summary of activities is published after each meeting to inform members about board activities and decisions.

The ESA Governing Board met via video conference November 12-13, 2020. Below is a summary of highlights from the meeting and actions taken.

  • Much of the early discussion focused on the impacts of the pandemic on the Society’s programs and operations: Executive Director Chris Stelzig provided a summary presentation that focused on budget variances, and President Alvin Simmons summarized a virtual retreat held in September.
  • The Annual Meeting program co-chairs reported that Entomology 2020 had more than 3,000 attendees from 51 countries, and Rosina Romano, ESA director of meetings and membership, shared that several Branches are working together on a combined virtual meeting for 2021.
  • Erin Cadwalader, ESA director of strategic initiatives, shared that the ESA Science Policy Program had built a lot of positive momentum over the year with the growth of the Vector-Borne Disease Network and improved connections with many Capitol Hill offices. Staff from Lewis-Burke Associates, the Society's advocacy firm, discussed the impact of the recent election and suggested potential focus areas for ESA.
  • Updates were provided on the first-year progress of several new ESA initiatives, including the Leadership Development Committee, the Society’s Professional Advancement Career Training (PACT) Initiative, and the Awards and Honors Canvassing Committee—the latter of which reported a significant increase in the number of women nominated for ESA awards in 2020.
  • President Simmons closed the 2020 Governing Board meeting by thanking outgoing Governing Board members Lina Bernaola, Bob Peterson, and Gary Brewer for their service.

Following this, the 2021 Governing Board convened. President Michelle Smith welcomed new members Salka-Tuwa Stephanita BondocGawa Mafla-Mills, John Ruberson, and Richard Mankin and congratulated Marianne Alleyne on her new role as vice president-elect. Smith gave the board an outline of her goals for 2021, including her intention to host a service opportunity at the 2021 Annual Meeting in Denver, a desire to have both in-person and virtual elements at the meeting, and the theme of "Adapt. Advance. Transform."

The board then went through a vision-setting exercise. Participants were divided into four groups to explore (1) improvements to the current organizational structure of Sections and Branches, (2) ongoing changes in scientific publishing and possible revenue-generating opportunities, (3) ways in which the meetings department could expand and further support ESA members and related stakeholders, and (4) developing programming to support the professional-development needs of members and the scientific community.

Later, Melissa Willrich-Siebert and Jennifer Henke were selected to serve on ESA's Executive Committee along with the Society’s elected officers. The 2021 Board then adjourned.

Throughout the two-day meeting, the Governing Board took the following actions:

  • Approved the consent agenda, with the Early Career Professionals Committee report and the updated version of the ESA Policies and Procedures Manual pulled out for additional discussion. Both pulled reports were later discussed and approved with minor edits being made to the manual.
  • Approved the new Invasive Species position statement.
  • Approved the proposed ESA Policy Regarding Allegations of Ethical or Personal Misconduct by Honorees and Potential Honorees. The Board subsequently moved to have the ESA Committee on Ethics and Rules review and improve the portions of the policy that dealt with restorative remedies.
  • Approved the 2021 draft budget with one minor modification.
  • Approved a motion to update ESA’s investment policy statement to include a target ratio of 15–20 percent of responsible investment options, the goal of which is to make ESA's investment portfolio more representative of ESA's strategic principles.
  • Approved a motion from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee that would create a new travel award specifically seeking nominations from tribal colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, and similar institutions.
  • Approved a motion to recommend 2020 ESA President Alvin Simmons as the International Congress of Entomology (ICE) nominee from the United States.

The ESA Governing Board also convened as the ESA Certification Corporation Governing Board. Discussion topics included the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the new Public Health Entomology certificate program and an introduction to a new certification program that would complement ESA's existing offerings. The Board reviewed and approved the 2021 budget and the minutes from the September 2020 meeting.

Members with questions about the outcomes from the November 2020 Governing Board meeting can contact ESA Executive Director Chris Stelzig at

See past news and updates from the ESA Governing Board.

Minutes from past Governing Board meetings are available online following Governing Board approval.

For more info, visit the ESA Governing Board page.