As the U.S. member body to ISO, ANSI hosted the event in an effort to provide guidance to U.S. individuals serving as the Secretary to ISO committees that develop standards in a wide range of categories, including healthcare, medical devices, IT, oil and gas, aerospace, machinery, project management, and financial services, among others.
ANSI senior vice president and chief operating officer Fran Schrotter provided opening remarks, reflecting on the significance of the event and the attendees' collective role: "Now, more than ever, as technologies constantly evolve and the global players change," she said. "The U.S. community is grateful for your dedication and willingness to work together for even stronger U.S. representation."
Keynote presenters included ISO's Technical Management Board (TMB) Secretary and Technical Policy Manager Sophie Clivio, who led a joint session with Karl Best of the Project Management Institute (PMI) titled "Effective Project Management for the ISO Secretary." The session highlighted key methods of implementing effective management tools needed by ISO Secretaries to successfully manage committee working programs. This was followed by a breakout session where participants were given the specific scenarios to work on as teams.
Ms. Clivio also led a session on "Managing Difficult Situations and People" with Lisa Rajchel, ANSI's senior director of international secretariats. They emphasized best strategies for ISO Secretariats when faced with challenging situations that can have a negative impact on committee work and cohesion if not addressed in an effective and timely manner. The session was also followed by a breakout session where specific scenarios were given to the teams to discuss, share best practices and strategize on approaches.
In the session "Getting the Most Out of ISO's IT Tools," ANSI's ISO team program manager Ed Terhune provided a comprehensive overview of the IT tools ISO has in place to increase the efficiency of administering a Secretariat.
Another panel discussion moderated by Steve Cornish, ANSI senior director of international policy, highlighted effective relationships with ISO staff, utilizing ANSI staff, and positive working relationships with committee leaders. Panelists included ANSI's Sally Seitz, Sara Desautels, and Ms. Clivio.
The session closed with the update on TMB initiatives that will impact the work of secretaries, and included new changes that will be implemented into the 2016 version of the ISO Directives.
Attendees expressed gratitude for the opportunity to network with peers from other sectors and to hear the various "real-life" approaches to relatable topics.
The Secretariat Workshop was co-located with the ANSI ISO Forum (AIF), held the day before, which covered key discussion topics including transparency, communication, and document retention in the ISO standards development process; ISO social media guidelines; and the ISO/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) project management workshop for Chairs, Secretaries, and Convenors, among other subjects [read the related coverage here].