L. Robin Keller nominated to run for President of INFORMS

UCIrvine L. Robin Keller    
INFORMS® Online - Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences


It would be an honor to serve as President-Elect, President, and Past-President, especially after my years of service to INFORMS/TIMS/ORSA during my career.  As an INFORMS leader, I will be able to draw upon my board-level experience as an INFORMS Board Director-at-large, TIMS VP Finance, and a TIMS Council Member, and my experience running the Decision Analysis Society and as Decision Analysis Editor-in-Chief.

My perspective on our shared goals for INFORMS was refined when I chaired a committee to evaluate merger options for ORSA and TIMS leading up to the INFORMS merger.Gaining a generalist perspective on the TIMS/ORSA activities, the committee compiled information from stakeholders to develop a set of objectives to use in evaluating options, as described in my Operations Research paper with Craig Kirkwood.

The resulting objectives hierarchy provides a starting point to examine and revise our strategic plans for INFORMS.  We have made much progress.  As we continue to face new challenges, I hope to see the use of “OR Inside” throughout all phases of our professional lives, as covered by five major objectives.


 Enhance the quality of products and services

 Provide high quality main and specialty conferences

 Provide high quality publications

 Provide appropriate career services

 Provide support for sub-units

 Provide other member services

Much of the work by INFORMS members and staff aims to meet these objectives. I have the experience and perspective to work with the INFORMS Board to periodically evaluate and refine our portfolio of products and services to meet current and emerging challenges, having been active in conferences, publications, award committees, and in leading the Decision Analysis Society while we successfully gained Board approval to found the Decision Analysis journal.  An expanded goal might be to foster further collaboration between academics and practitioners to augment our current career services.

 Manage the scope and diversity of the field

 Maintain/improve membership composition

 Create strong relationships with other societies

 Recruiting and retaining members requires us to provide value to them, make them feel valued, and help them get involved. Identifying new people for elected and appointed volunteer roles requires attention to succession planning. I will strive for broader participation in INFORMS committees and journals by encouraging existing members to move on to new roles and to nominate successors, by promoting appointments and skills development of newer members, and by promoting balanced representation across our diverse membership.

 Establish a strong and coherent external image of field

 Increase visibility and clout of operations research and management science

 Foster professional identity

We now aim to brand INFORMS as a leader in analytics, with OR as the core. It is not enough for the President and Officers, Executive Director, and the INFORMS Marketing and Public Relations Directors to reach out in ambassador roles.  Each member of our profession needs to be an “AmbassadOR for Analytics”.

 Representing INFORMS as an ambassador for our great profession can be seen as linking the media, government officials, clients, research funders, publishers, and students with resources such as knowledge of applications and research advances, introductions to experts, and access to our community of professionals providing and requiring products and services.  INFORMS can help by creating outreach messages, resource materials, and networking opportunities. Expanded goals might include founding Regional INFORMS Roundtables and a scholarship fund. I will encourage us to tailor our existing and new products and services to include the ambassador mission, and remember to put OR in OutReach.

INFORMS should help members make and maintain strong professional relationships. Conferences can be overwhelming if people can’t find their “birds of a feather” to flock with.  Publications in a wide variety of fields provide richness but can separate rather than unite. So, it is important to nurture professional identities in each subfield and as part of INFORMS as a whole.

Maintain/improve effectiveness of operations and Improve cost efficiency of operations

Maintaining cost-effective operations is an ongoing goal of INFORMS. During the TIMS/ORSA merger that created INFORMS, I was the Board member in charge of the TIMS budget, operations and office staff, and worked closely with Karla Hoffman, then the ORSA Treasurer, to realize as many efficiencies as possible during the start-up.  From the President’s generalist perspective, I will continue to enhance communication and coORdination among groups working on overlapping functions, so we can get the most “bang for the buck” out of our continuing and new program, product, and service initiatives, and avoid duplicative efforts.

 Let’s achieve mORe through coORdination and OutReach!


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