Kristin Surdej
President, Network in Aging

I am excited and honored to begin my term as president of this fine organization that has stood the test of time. I offer a heartfelt thank you to Dot Swift for her tenure as president.  She and all our officers, committee chairs and board members, both past and present, share a passion for this organization we fondly refer to as the Network.  Many of the members know me professionally from my work as a care manager for the last twenty plus years, but not all may know my history with the Network.  My involvement goes back to late 1999 or early 2000 with attendance at a Network event as an intern for Erie County Senior Services while attending UB for my master’s degree in social work.  I joined the Education Committee and board in 2002.  My first position as an officer was in 2005 as Secretary, followed by Treasurer in 2012 and Vice President of UB Relations in 2015.

My goals for the Network include working with the membership and board to keep the Network strong. We took the first step last year by conducting a membership survey.  The results of the survey will be incorporated into developing a strategic plan.  The last time the Network took on a strategic planning mission was 2003.  The board has budgeted funds to bring in a professional to facilitate the strategic planning process.  Also due was a review of our by-laws.  A special committee convened in November chaired by Dot Swift to work on this.  The outcome, to make some suggestions to the board for updates to language in the by-laws.  Since the beginning of the Network, membership groups were referred to as Sponsor Members.  The committee will be looking for the board’s approval to change the name of group memberships to Member Agencies to avoid any confusion when a Member Agency chooses to sponsor an event.

I want to thank all those who were involved in our 36th Annual Meeting, which took place in November at the Grapevine Banquet Facility.  We can attribute the event’s success to several factors — from those who attended to those who planned the event, especially the Special Events Committee, Education Committee and our coordinator, Lisa Boron.  We are appreciative of the time and professional dedication of our speakers and for the generosity of those who placed ads making our program booklet an amazing success.

We had a great turn out for the December Network with the Network event. Thank you to Canterbury Woods for being the host site and to People Inc., New York Teachers Western Zone and Venture Forth for being co-sponsors.  Food and networking were plentiful.  The specialty Candy Cane and Goofy Elf drinks were a treat fitting for the season.  Happy New Year to all!