President’s Corner

Sheila D. Harris, PhD
LAI President

May 14, 2020

COVID19, Sheltering in Place, and Social Distancing are phrases and concepts I had never heard of, nor knew that they would be used daily in my conversations just a few weeks ago. As we are all navigating the effects of the COVID19 pandemic virus upon our lives and communities, it is quite amazing how something we cannot see can so completely upend our lives. Unfortunately this change resulted in altering our plans to meet in Chicago in April and May of 2020 and celebrate 90 years of LAI.

I want to thank the members of the Ely and Los Angeles Chapters for their help and assistance as we work together to revise our plans for our in-person meetings to ensure we can do so safely, and have a quality LAI Land Economics Weekend (LEW) experience. Both the Chapters and LAI officers and staff have worked together in a very collaborative manner during ever changing conditions to meet this goal. We are not finished with this task yet, and I envision that there will be additional alterations to our plans given the uncertain nature of the effects of the virus upon us. I ask you to please understand that we are doing everything we can to address our meeting plans, while we ensure that the safety of our members is paramount in our decision making.

Given the uncertainty of the world in which we work, we are working to develop other mechanisms to stay in touch and increase our interactions among Chapters and members. Using technology and the meeting experience of Zoom we held our Board of Governor’s meeting on April 30 and conducted business matters in a virtual format. We will meet again on May 19 to conclude the remaining items of our agenda. I want to thank everyone who participated in that meeting for understanding the challenging circumstances upon which we find ourselves and your willingness to find ways to work together.

I am pleased to announce that Kathy King (International Vice-President) and Jim Musbach (Regional Vice-President West) have developed a webinar to be held via Zoom on May 27 and June 3 on the topic of: COVID-19: Cross-Cutting Trends toward a New Reality – What to Expect Across Key Sectors. This webinar is open to all members and their guests. I encourage you to participate in this very informative and extremely current information sharing opportunity via Zoom. This webinar is an example of one method LAI International is providing to keep our members informed of the current conditions in which we work, while providing an opportunity for all members throughout the world to participate in a real time event. It is also a mechanism to recruit new members as your guests to the event. If you need more information about these activities or how to invite guests to participate, please contact Sheila Hamilton at

Additionally, the Zoom license that was purchased by LAI International allows Chapters to conduct local programs and meetings. The purchase of a license by LAI International allows all Chapters to use it so individual Chapters do not have to purchase a separate license. Please contact Sheila Hamilton to obtain details regarding the usage of this service at:

Thank you again for your help and assistance during this very fluid environment. If you have ideas or suggestions regarding LAI please contact me at or at 602-463-6315. I look forward to speaking with you.

Best regards and stay safe,
Sheila D. Harris, PhD