Reflections from a GLIIFCA Co-Founder

Prologue: After 32 successful years, the GLIIFCA format has attained a unique “brand” that is the envy of other regional flow/image cytometry groups; it has become the template they wish to emulate. The vision of its founding members and their commitment to create a nurturing environment for young professionals drove them to experiment with numerous innovative approaches over the past 32 years that have added value to each successive meeting. In addition to a continued superb scientific program, these include: Establishment of the Industrial Science Symposium for vendors; Core Managers Meeting; Six-year rotations to different sites within the Great Lakes catchment area; Generous awards (for poster presentations, travel, and New Investigator Awards) to younger members; Addition of image cytometry to our moniker; Provision of food/beverages in the vendor area throughout the meeting, all covered with one, inexpensive registration; including, Happy Hour and themed banquets with DJ’s, permitting all participants to “let their hair down” and share in the pleasures of comradeship among colleagues of all ages.

Strategic Initiatives Meeting (SIM), 2011: Despite all of its successes, twenty years was the right time to strategically look back on the past and look forward to the future. A one-day, comprehensive evaluation of five, major areas accomplished a great deal. This was made possible through the focused and thoughtful efforts of “the friends of GLIIFCA”, led admirably by Mo O’Gorman – it would not have been as successful without his organization and leadership.

These efforts have resulted in renewed enthusiasm for GLIIFCA’s future. It has reorganized and clarified its founding premises, committed substantial new funds to provide even more flexibility in organizing future, high-value scientific programs and turned over the Steering Committee to a younger, dynamic leadership groomed and committed to carry on the legacy of the founding “mothers and fathers” of GLIIFCA – there could not have been a more satisfying outcome that so clearly reflected the aspirations of the GLIIFCA founders; GLIIFCA’s future is indeed in good hands. Interestingly, from my perspective, is that even though the new leadership is inevitably younger, their median age is probably not much different than that Steering Committee from 32 years ago at GLIIFCA 1.

The Future: What gives me solace is that the new leadership is respectful of the past history of GLIIFCA that has made it so successful. The template is there, the foundation is complete and the building blocks are in position to be used creatively. The present Steering Committee will continue to evolve and will hopefully view the GLIIFCA brand as a “jewel” to be treasured and added to.

When GLIIFCA was first formed as GLIIFCA 1, the founders were not sure that we would ever see GLIIFCA 2. However, 32 years of collegial efforts have resulted in the present GLIIFCA organization that we have all come to so passionately support.

Dr. Alexander Nakeff, Sept 6, 2023