ASIAN SEED • 4 Looking Back, Moving Forward During the recent, and first-ever, APSA Midterm meeting (see pp 18–23), APSA Communications Officer Steven Layne had a chance to sit down with APSA President Ms Brenda Dossey and APSA Executive Director Mrs Heidi Gallant to chat about the many improvements made to APSA in the past year and what they have lined- up for the future. Steven Layne: You began your leadership roles with APSA in 2016, is that correct? Brenda Dossey: Yes. I started my term as president in November 2016 but I already had been serving on the APSA EC since November 2013. I served as vice president since November 2014. Prior to serving on the APSA EC, I was the chair of the Special Interest Group for Forage and Amenity Turf for many years. Heidi Gallant: I became the new Executive Director of APSA on June 1, 2016. APSA experienced a period without a director in place from June 2015 until I came on board. I know you are both very excited about all of the improvements made to APSA in such a short time. I was very lucky to have hired you at just the right time! One of your first duties was to improve APSA’s online presence. The biggest and only online tool we had was the website, which was extremely outdated and never updated. You helped me with the implementation and design of not only a new website, but a membership management database with both front end, which is for members, and back end, which is for secretariat administration. The new site is beautiful and was launched in January 2017, along with the new directory and database. Members can now find each other between seed congresses for business opportunities all year. BD: I would also like to add that APSA had no true social media presence in the past and we now have regular news and activity on a variety of social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, WeChat and Twitter. The print magazine is also still being published and members often tell me how much they enjoy reading it when it arrives on their desk every couple of months. Thanks to you both! Now let’s talk about other new people and things at the secretariat. BD: I am very excited when I walk into the APSA office these days and see the happy faces of the staff and look at the great new workspace that has been created. The office has been cleaned-out and refreshed with a bit of paint, and the new team actually did this work themselves to create a more welcoming space for members to visit. I encourage you to visit if you are in Bangkok and get to know your APSA Secretariat. HG: We shuffled positions around a bit and created three new roles at APSA in 2017: the Business Development Officer, the Membership Programs Officer and the Deputy Director. The team has been trained on their specific duties but also cross-trained to cover each other’s roles. This is important with a small team so that member services never are delayed due to the annual leave or sickness of any one employee. The Deputy Director was a new idea for APSA, but, with my departure at the end of June, it was a great call to have a manager in place and never have to go without secretariat leadership. Well, since you brought it up, what does Heidi leaving mean for APSA and its members? BD: As Heidi said, APSA had been without a director for some time before she joined us. In her two years of service, Heidi implemented an extensive set of standard operating procedures needed for good NGO governance. She shared her knowledge of NGO management with the Executive Committee so we could continue to effectively implement the new APSA Constitution that was approved in Macau in 2014. She leaves us in a better position than when she joined us. We are now in a healthy, safe place, with an amazing secretariat team to work with. The long process of achieving international status in Thailand – as per the direction of APSA’s members, who want us registered as an international association and who also want us to remain in Thailand – continues, as we take steps to follow through on that objective. We are getting closer every day. Lastly, as Heidi mentioned earlier, we have recently hired Dr. May Chodchoey as Deputy Director, so we will not revert to being a “director- less” association”; instead, Dr. May