President’s Message – September 2020

In November 2017 the Board drafted a three year strategic plan, where we laid out our mission, mandate, and vision, and defined our audience. We also created a series of goals around branding, collaboration, publishing, communication, board development, and financial planning. Each goal included multiple strategies, with benchmarks to ensure we were making progress. We regularly reviewed the plan to gauge our progress and amend it where necessary. We achieved many of our intended goals, while others reflect ongoing work: overall we are very happy with how the strategic plan helped guide our work over the period.

As you’ve likely surmised, it is time for a new strategic plan. To better understand our current situation, we will update our SWOT and competitor analyses. We will then start work writing the strategic plan in August, with a meeting of all the Board members and committee volunteers. By late fall we expect to have a new plan to help guide us in the coming years.

The writing of this new plan comes at an important time for the Society. Current economic realities mean that many funding organizations have less to work with, or have expanded their pool of applicants, making it more important than ever for us to continue diversifying our funding model. Covid-19 has, perhaps permanently, changed the way events and educational programming work. We have responded already in a number of ways, but we may have to reimagine how we deliver many of our ongoing programming, including the speakers series, the Christmas party and John Rowand Night, and the Edmonton Historic and Doors Open Festival. Our community, and the world, have been confronted in recent months with the ugly truth of racism and inequities facing people of colour (Black and Indigenous peoples in particular). I believe we have done a good job with our Speakers Series of providing a place for diverse voices, but there is more we can, and should do.

Despite the challenges, this is an exciting time for EDHS. By being bold, thoughtful, and decisive in our strategic planning, our organization will continue to serve the community and provide high quality programming to both our members and the wider audiences that we serve.

Tim O’Grady