My 4-year term as your SERVSIG co-chair comes to an end.
The best thing about SERVSIG is not a thing, but its people. My SERVSIG journey started in 2014, when Lerzan Aksoy invited me to join forces with her to co-chair the next doctoral consortium (DC) of SERVSIG in San José. It was a great honor, and a great event. The following year, I had the pleasure to co-chair the DC with Lisa Brüggen.
Paying forward and caring for the future of our service field has always been very important to me. In this regard, I am also very grateful to the Belgian service research community, and in particular to Wafa Hammedi and Annouk Lievens for co-founding the Let’s Talk About Service (LTAS) workshop with me, empowered by SERVSIG. We changed the format of the DC and changed the format of LTAS. Now LTAS and DC, even though sharing similar goals, are two complementary events with different formats.
Four years ago, I became the co-chair of SERVSIG, first two years with Lerzan Aksoy, and last two years with Linda Alkire. Two fantastic ladies, with whom it was both a pleasure and a privilege to co-chair this amazing community. During my term as the co-chair, we made some strategic changes including the name of SERVSIG, bylaws, and new Officer roles amongst others. We also celebrated the 10th edition of the SERVSIG conference in Paris, at the same time as the 25th year of SERVSIG. For that conference in Paris, I really enjoyed collaborating with Nathalie Demoulin and her team in making it a special and celebration edition of the SERVSIG Conferences. During that conference, we also had the opportunity to celebrate Ray Fisk: the founder of SERVSIG. Ray is a visionary leader, and a colorful, warm and wise person. I am grateful that he was my mentor throughout this SERVSIG journey.
This year, we were looking forward to another great edition of the SERVSIG Conference in Brisbane: the team of Rebekah Russell-Bennett and Dominque Greer had created an unforgettable program; but the Covid-19 changed our plans… nevertheless, I cherish many warm memories linked to the conference preparations and conference ideas from the Brisbane edition.
Being on board of the SERVSIG ship, means that you are part of an amazing board of SERVSIG Officers. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to get to know many smart and dedicated people, and each time you made me very happy and proud when we achieved something together: a sincere thank you to each of you! We made a great team!
Looking back, I feel very grateful. I have been given the tremendous opportunity to serve you, the community which is my academic home. And by doing so, I have found my spot in what I have referred to as “the academic circle of life”.
Looking forward, I feel very grateful and happy too. Specifically, I have the pleasure to introduce you to my successor, and the incoming co-chair of SERVSIG.
Congratulations Sertan Kabadayi, and also thank you for your commitment, and enthusiasm to become the next co-chair, together with Linda Alkire.
My connection to Sertan also brings me back to the start of my SERVSIG journey. Thanks to Lerzan Aksoy, I also got to know Sertan. First, I got to know him as just being a nice colleague of Lerzan who was also passionate about service research, then he became a loyal visitor of Ghent, and Antwerp in Belgium. After that, he came on board of the organizing committee of LTAS, and on board of SERVSIG…
over the years, it is not just your diligence, intelligence, fast replies, excellent service, great ideas, and drinking cocktails on rooftop bars that I valued most, but your true friendship… For now, I will grasp the unique opportunity to co-chair SERVSIG with you for a few “bonus” months until Linda’s return from maternity leave. When I will be leaving SERVSIG in September upon Linda’s return, I know that SERVSIG will be in good hands, your hands… You and Linda will make an amazing co-chair team!
Congratulations Sertan, and thank you!