Dear VEMA Colleagues, 

Thank you for trusting me with the responsibility to serve as your president for the coming year. I have been a part of VEMA, in some capacity, since 2004. There have been a lot of changes with the association and a lot of growth in that time. I want to share a few goals for the remainder of my presidency with you all.

First, I want to continue working on transparency within the Association. If you attended the Membership meeting you heard about our work over the last year on Strategic Communications. As part of that, the Executive Committee will continue to meet regularly so we can build a team to support you, our members. Indeed,  we speak to each other weekly (sometimes daily) in support of this idea.

In addition, our Strategic Plan was approved last year. At the Board Retreat in June, all committee chairs were empowered to take charge and develop tasks within their committees to support the goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan. Much work is being done this year by the Legislative Committee and the Certification Committee, as examples. Committee Chairs, as a whole, are working with their Executive Committee representatives to ensure that their actions represent the goals of the Board. We continue to partner with the Institutes of Higher Education Caucus in these areas as well.

I will also continue to work with the Board to gather information from emergency managers across the commonwealth. This is a statewide association AND I want to know what your issues and concerns are. I will continue with the open door policy; if you see something that needs to be changed, let me know. But don’t just bring me a problem; be part of the solution. We’ve recently instituted a Financial Review Committee, made up of VEMA Members in every region of the Commonwealth, to conduct a quarterly review of VEMA’s financial documents. This is unprecedented in the history of the association and we are doing it based on feedback from YOU.

I hope we can continue to build partnerships across the commonwealth – at all levels of government, and all sectors of emergency management – private, non-profit, higher education, health, schools. We are all in this together.

Michelle Oblinsky
2016-2017 VEMA President