IEEE Northern Virginia Section Secretary

The IEEE Northern Virginia Section Secretary is an operational role that handles necessary logistical and communication tasks.  The secretary has a vote on the Executive Committee.


Q. What are the primary responsibilities of the IEEE Northern Virginia Section Secretary?
A. The main duties of the secretary are:
  • Schedule the monthly Executive Committee meetings and distribute the agenda
  • Arrange a venue and food and assist with room set-up, food delivery, and tear-down
  • Set up and run a WebEx or Zoom meeting for remote attendees
  • Record Executive Committee meeting attendance, and record and distribute the minutes
  • Send a monthly email summary of upcoming section events
Q. When does the Executive Committee meet?
A. At 6:30 pm on the second Tuesday of the month except in summer when we have a picnic.  Members can vote to change the date and time if required.
Q. Where does ExCom meet?
A. We often take advantage of IEEE’s 501(c)3 status to use a Fairfax County Library meeting room at no cost, but we have also met at community centers, public schools, college and universities, and other free or low-cost venues that are readily accessible to our membership.
Q. How does the secretary schedule and announce meetings?
A. IEEE provides a web-based system called vTools that lets you easily schedule meetings and notify members.  A separate mailing list is also maintained.
Q. What’s involved in arranging food?
A. Before the pandemic, we would often order pizza or large trays of self-serve food with 1-litre bottles of soda.  Now we typically order an array of individually wrapped or boxed sandwiches and individual cans of soft drinks or bottles of water.  Many restaurants will take orders online or by phone, and they are very eager to please.  If they don’t offer delivery there are several third-party delivery services.  Food delivery is relatively easy to do and the secretary can select or influence the choice of food!
Q. It’s 2022 – do organizations still record typed minutes?
A. Yes, IEEE bylaws require it, but they are not a complete record of everything that is said.  Minutes need record only motions and the results of votes that are relatively infrequent.  Even if there is an error or omission, the minutes of one month’s meeting must be approved at the next, so someone will point out any errors or omissions.
Q. Can’t we just post a recording?
A. Sorry, no.
Q. How can I take attendance when I don’t know everyone’s name?
A. It is common practice to pass around a sign-in sheet.  Even if someone doesn’t check off their own name, meetings usually begin with everyone introducing themselves.  After a few months you will know everyone.
Q. Where do I get a list of upcoming meetings?
A. There’s a tool to help retrieve a list of upcoming meetings, and plenty of examples for sending monthly emails.  You may also devise your own format.
Q. It sounds like there are a lot of things to do.  What if I need help?
A. The chair, vice chair, and  treasurer work together as a team, and many officers from prior years are available to help.  There’s not much one can do to prepare for the secretary’s role in advance – on the job training is the best way to learn this critical function.
Q. Why would I want to do this?
A. Besides helping the section and learning skills that can help in your personal and professional life, the secretary has great visibility into the operation of the section.  If you aspire to become the chair of the section or a society chapter, it is a great role in which to learn the operation and meet other members.
Q. Okay, I’m in – how do I apply?
A. To run for this position, complete the Nomination form.  If you want to suggest somebody else, send an email to with the name of the person you want to nominate and why you think they would be good.  If the nomination committee confirms their eligibility, they will reach out.