To ensure delivery, please add to your address book
If you don't see images, click here to view
Got a Story Idea? . Events
Association Bisnow
January 15, 2008

The Happiness Society


Madeleine Jacobs, Executive Director and CEO of the American Chemical Society, is on a mission to make the world happier through chemistry.  No, literally.  Founded in 1876, the nation's largest scientific society is the subject of a 1938 Act of Congress that charters it to add to "the material prosperity and happiness of our people."  Charity starts at home, and since Madeleine took the helm in 2004, the ACS has been relying in part on detailed surveys of its 160,000 members to make sure the ACS is keeping them smiling.


Madeleine sent out her first survey to a random sample of ACS members back in '04.  (She assures us it was statistically valid, and being liberal arts types we're not equipped to argue.)  Despite the survey's length-eight pages of questioning, some of it open-ended-ACS got a high response rate and plenty of insights.  One of them:  Members were keen for career services programming.  ACS now offers employment-related programs for everyone from college students to career scientists.  Members also asked for more and better Web content, and in September the ACS delivered on their three-year-long website retooling.  (When you run 36 peer-reviewed journals putting out 30,000 articles a year, a jobs board, and a chemical database service that employs 1,200 people-not to mention a "molecule of the week"-that's a lot of content to organize.)


Madeleine could have predicted the need for better web services-in fact, she did.  At her job interview with the Board of Directors, she was asked to name something about the organization that needed changing.  (A delicate situation given that the ACS's then-CEO was in the room with her.)  When Madeleine mentioned the website, she saw 15 heads nod and figured she just might have a shot.


The ACS sent out its second survey under Madeleine's leadership last year, and is now compiling the results.  As in the last go-round, ACS will use the survey to chart their various services on a grid like the one above.  Madeleine's goal is to get as many ACS offerings as possible into the "sweet spot" area, and preliminary results suggest the ACS has made strides since its last survey.


A scientist herself, Madeleine got her B.S. in Chemistry from George Washington University (they added an honorary doctorate in 2003).  She came to the CEO position after serving as editor of Chemical and Engineering News, an ACS publication that Madeleine tells us is the "Time magazine of the chemical world."  She says she got her leadership lessons from her late father, an accomplished bassoonist. When she asked him what a conductor does (Madeleine was a kid, so she called him "the guy with the stick"), her father said his job was to bring out the best in an already talented group.  The painting on the left is a tribute to him, by Madeleine's artist husband.  Doesn't it look like a happy piece of art?

Cardinal Bank
Arent Fox
Advertise with Bisnow

This newsletter is a journalistic news source which accepts no payment for featured interviews. It is supported by conventional advertisers clearly identified in the right hand column. You have been selected to receive it either through prior contact or professional association. If you have received it in error, please accept our apologies and unsubscribe at bottom of the newsletter. ? 2007, Bisnow on Business, Inc., 2300 N Street, NW Washington, DC 20037. All rights reserved.

Women BisnowReal Estate Bisnow Tech Bisnow Legal Bisnow NYC Real Estate