The Good Steward

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

What Lies Ahead

Cummings notes that because he was appointed to the board for a few years and then elected for two terms, he has spent more time on the board than most. With that perspective, he sees how the industry has changed and matured and how changes in the world have required the leadership to be nimble.

As an example, Cumming cites the recognition, made early this decade, that cybersecurity and the issue of convergence needed to be heavily addressed by ASIS. Only a little before that time, says Cummings, most security professionals would never have conceived of it. The seeds ASIS planted with IT professional associations, he says, are coming to fruition now.

“I think the next big challenge that we’re going to address as we continue to mature is enterprise security risk management. So, there is the recognition that as our profession matures, there are greater opportunities to look at and expand connections. We’ve also identified communities of interest—the Chief Security Officer Roundtable is a perfect example of ASIS coming up with a structure to deal with and serve that community,” Cummings states.

Another challenge for 2009 is further developing the relationship between the board and headquarters and the volunteer leaders.

The volunteer leaders are “the lifeblood of the organization,” he notes. “We have to continue to tap in and find ways to make those volunteer leadership experiences meaningful and find ways to support the volunteers…. We have to find ways to help good volunteer leaders stay engaged; that is part of our 2009 strategic plan, because we realize that if we are going to continue to be successful, that’s going to be an integral part of that success.”

Giving more of value to the members is another perennial, and important, strategic planning point. He cites the improved Thursday morning programs at the seminar and exhibits as well as the Certified Protection Professional® and CSO sessions as examples of how the Society is continuing to look for ways to serve members better.

“We continue to assess the needs of the membership and not just do the same old, same old. We strike a good balance between maintaining what’s valuable but not being fearful of changes, and so we haven’t become stagnated,” Cummings says.

Support. Cummings has the support of Aurora Healthcare for what will surely be a hectic year. “I’ve been fortunate that my organization has allowed me to do this, but I think it’s seen that there is a benefit for me professionally, as well as what I’ve brought back to Aurora through my contacts,” he says.

“This has been one area where my employer has been absolutely super,” Cummings notes, adding: “I’ve tried to pay that back in kind by making sure that I understand the concurrent responsibilities I have to both organizations this year.

“My department leadership team and their professionalism and support has also allowed me the flexibility to serve ASIS.  Without their ability to take care of business in my absence, I would not be in a position to fulfill the requirements of volunteer leadership on this level,” Cummings added.

Cummings also has the support of his wife of 18 years, Rima. “She’s been extremely supportive [in light of the demand on me] and the extra time away from the home,” he states.

“I’m honored to have been given the stewardship of ASIS. I want to achieve one good year of stewardship maintaining what I think the Society is—a high reliability organization with a good consistency of purpose. I don’t think we’ve ever lost focus on serving the members and the profession,” says Cummings, “and if I can do that for one year, I will be very, very happy.”

Ann Longmore-Etheridge is an associate editor of Security Management and editor of ASIS Dynamics. 



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