President of Australian Skeptics (Australia)
Eran Segev is the President of Australian Skeptics Inc, one of the oldest skeptical organisations in the world, which also publishes the second oldest skeptical magazine. Like many skeptics, Eran found skepticism through a chance encounter. That happened after many years of having an intuitive feeling that is was wrong for pseudoscience to be so prevalent in society, but not being aware that there is an entire movement dedicated to countering it. He has joined the Australian Skeptics Inc Committee in 2003 and has been the organisation's president from 2009 to 2012 and again since 2014. Being a manager by profession, he has been particularly focused on the organisation’s structure and management. Eran is originally from Israel and has lived in the USA and the UK before moving to Australia in 1999. He is an IT management consultant, a lover of all things science (especially astronomy) and the father of three skeptical boys.
The secrets of an effective Skeptical organisation
Every organisation wants to be successful. That is true for small not-for-profits as much as to large commercial enterprises. And to be successful, means essentially one thing: to meet the organisation’s goals. In some sense, commercial organisations have it easy; the main goal is usually to make money. They also have an easy way to manage their affairs – by using money is a lever to motivate employees and buying influence. Skeptical organisations are rarely in that position. They are mostly volunteer-based; few have significant amounts of money; and they often incorporate in an atmosphere of great enthusiasm but with not enough effort expended on creating an organisational structure that would last. There is a strong focus on communicating the skeptical point of view and working with the media, but less emphasis on ensuring that the media attention lasts, and that in years to come there is an organisation still there for the media to turn to. To change that, the first step is to define the organisation’s goals. From the perspective of 14 years on the Committee of Australian Skeptics, one of the oldest running skeptical organisations in the world, six of which as President, and as a manager by profession who has brought his professional skills to the organisation, I will share some of the lessons I’ve learnt. How to set appropriate goals; how small changes to the organisation can make a big difference to the ability to meet its goals; and how it can maintain the interest of the community and of the media.