Dear colleagues, dear friends,

This year is an election year at UFI. In spring, you will all elect the new leaderships for our regional chapters around the world. Later, after the summer, we will have the Board elections. In parallel, the working groups and committees will as well elect their new leaders. At UFI, these are open elections, there is no “roster of candidates” pre-selected by a Board and put forward for approval.

A call for candidates is going out into the chapters, asking for interested colleagues to stand for election. Each chapter is led by a chairperson, and several vice chairs. I speak from more than 25 years of experience, having volunteered, and served in many of these capacities at UFI, when I say: It is worth your time to give back to our industry as you will gain personally. And, as with every election, this one provides us with an opportunity to evolve, and I see  big opportunities.

In recent weeks, my UFI Presidency has led me to Lisbon, to the UFI office in Paris, and – just a few days ago – to Kuala Lumpur. I have had the opportunity to meet many of you face to face for updates and conversations. Also I have made sure to spend two days with the UFI team in Paris, to exchange ideas and listen. What I hear, consistently, is the huge respect for the work that our association’s staff are doing – both for the sheer number of topics and issues that they tackle with us and for us, and for the quality of the products, and the tangible outcomes.

The team accepts this positive feedback in a, may I say, humble way. For sure I have the impression that they are a good mix of experienced colleagues and also new talent, and that they are committed to their work. But as they point out again and again, the success of what UFI does stands and falls with all of us collectively, the members of our association – with the input we provide, and the leadership that we offer.

In our work at UFI, we advocate for multi-dimensional diversity in our industry. I want to echo what Mary Larkin said, three years ago, when we had the last round of elections: That having diverse voices in the room changes the conversation – for good. I have seen that over the past years at UFI and across our industry.

Listening to the UFI staff members introducing themselves in Paris last month, I saw the diversity of the team that our management has built over the past years – many nationalities, young [and not so young anymore!], with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

So here is my call to all of you: It is in our hands to elect a diverse and dynamic leadership for UFI to work with our diverse and dynamic team. Consider standing for elections – either this spring in your chapter, or later this year for our global Board. If you know someone who can add a new voice, a different voice – encourage them to also consider standing. Thank you.