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Roles & Responsibilities: Professional Chapter Chair-Elect

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Job Description

As chair-elect of your SME professional chapter, you have been called upon to assist the chapter chair in the leadership of your chapter, and to take over the title — and all of the responsibilities — of the chair during the following fiscal year. An integral contributor toward the successful operation of a chapter, the chair-elect assures the continuity of chapter leadership from year to year and assists in organizing and motivating other chapter officials. It is an important job, and SME is grateful for the time you dedicate to its undertaking.


  • Engage members by promoting SME chapter meetings and programs regularly, including certifications, events and leadership opportunities.
  • Coordinate the chapter's strategic planning efforts, helping guide the chapter through its short-term and long-term goals.
  • Oversee membership recruitment and retention endeavors.
  • Engage the Nominating Committee.
  • Maintain open communication lines with SME's member relations managers and membership consultants. 
  • In the absence of the chair, carry out the responsibilities of the chair until he/she returns to duty. These duties include, but are not limited to:
    • Participating in, and leading, meetings the chair is unable to attend.
    • Overseeing the Nominating Committee when it is time to elect new chapter officers.
    • Counseling and advising chapter administrative committees.
    • Ensuring that all chapter officials are meeting their responsibilities and that all required documents are completed and submitted on schedule.

Getting the Job Done: Tips and Details

Quick Tips

  • Become familiar with each of the chapter leadership roles and responsibilities.
  • Familiarize yourself with the SME Governance Document; it describes chapter policies and procedures in detail.
  • Visit the Volunteer Leader Toolkit, where you'll find helpful tools and "must-know" information.
  • Call your chapter's membership consultant whenever you need additional assistance or further information. If you do not know who your membership consultant is or how to reach him/her, call the Customer Care Center at 800.733.4763 or send an email to

Strategic Planning: Building a Community

The strategic planning process is more than just putting goals down on a piece of paper. It serves as a guide for positive and constructive dialog between chapter officials and chapter members. This dialog may be just as important as the long-range plans the process generates.

A strategic plan shapes and guides what the chapter does and why it does it by:

  • Representing a shared vision of what you want to accomplish.
  • Providing a framework which will be consistent over a specific period of time.
  • Identifying an overall direction (the means of achieving it becomes your plan).
  • Identifying the direction for short-term actions.

In your role as chair-elect, you will:

  • Monitor chapter operations and establish long-range plans to guide the chapter.
  • Periodically report progress to the chapter's membership.

Information on the strategic planning leaders roles and responsibilities page can assist you in the development of your strategic plan. It includes guidance on how to conduct initial research, develop your vision and mission statements, and establish and implement action plans.

Don't go it alone! Working with a team will bring the best results.

Recruitment: Bring Local Manufacturing Together

As the leader of your chapter's membership recruitment committee, you will work with your chapter chair to set the chapter's membership recruitment goals for the coming year. Clear-cut, measurable and attainable goals are vital to direct the planning and execution of your chapter's recruitment activities. By recruiting members to your chapter, you will expand its size and influence.

Information on the recruitment leader roles and responsibilities page is available to:

  • Assist you with engaging and leading your membership recruitment committee.
  • Guide you in utilizing assistance from SME Headquarters.
  • Provide detailed information about membership recruitment programs and incentives that you should promote and use.
  • Offer useful tools (e.g., a summary of membership features and benefits, sample letter to prospective members and more).

Membership Retention Committee

As your chapter's retention leader, you will work to develop strategies and programs that help retain members by encouraging and promoting their involvement and reminding them when they are up for renewals.

Specifically, you are responsible for:

  • Planning and engaging in membership retention activities, such as welcome letters, renewal reminders, welcome receptions and more.
  • Introducing all new members at chapter events and activities, and getting them engaged as volunteers.
  • Assisting student members and others to achieve higher grades of membership.
  • Helping retired or unemployed members in applying for reduced fees.
  • Following up with members who have not paid their dues to remind them of the value of their membership and encourage them to remain members.
  • Implementing member-recognition activities, such as recognizing membership milestone years, technical accomplishments, certifications achieved, life membership, etc.

Information on the retention leader roles and responsibilities page can help.

Nominating Committee

After the first meeting following the installation of new chapter officers, it is the chair-elect's responsibility to offer a slate of three nominees — with their prior consent — for the nominating committee. The committee must consist of three members in good standing. At least two of the committee members, whenever possible, should be past chairs. Members should not be current chapter officers. After members elect the committee, the chair-elect will appoint the committee chair from those elected. Members of the Nominating Committee are not eligible for nomination to any other chapter office.

As chair-elect, it is your task to instruct the newly elected nominating committee of its responsibilities:

  • Present its annual slate of candidates for each office — chair-elect, treasurer and secretary — at regular meetings and/or in the chapter bulletins.
  • Inform each nominee it selects for these elected offices of their duties and responsibilities.
  • Nominate candidates to fill vacancies in elected offices between annual officer elections.

SME Programs

Reminding chapter members of the specific benefits of membership and encouraging them to participate in SME programs is an important part of your job. Certification, for instance, provides members with an opportunity to gain a competitive edge, be recognized professionally, advance their knowledge and enjoy a sense of personal achievement. The certification chair roles and responsibilities page will provide you with information you need to promote SME's Certification programs.