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This is my final StressPoints column as ISTSS President, and I would like to highlight that serving in this role over the past year has been a privilege and an honor. I would like to also take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to all those who supported me in this (unexpected) role over the past year.

Firstly, the ISTSS Board of Directors, and in particular the Executive Committee members Ananda Amstadter, Debra Kaysen, Soraya Seedat, Marit Sijbrandj and Synne Stensland, have worked tirelessly despite the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic to achieve our strategic goals while keeping ISTSS financially healthy as an organization. Among the multiple achievements of this past year, it is noteworthy that a number of policies positioning our Society to face future challenges were developed and approved, including: an Intellectual Property Rights Policy, an Anti-Harassment Policy and a Sponsorship Policy. For those of you who were not able to attend the ISTSS Annual Business Meeting, its recording that provides an overview of the year’s notable achievements is accessible here.

Secondly, the Chairs and Co-Chairs of the 2021 Annual Meeting, Emily Dworkin, Rachel Liebman, Sierra Carter and Jennifer Sumner, put together an outstanding annual meeting, with a number of innovations including diverse networking sessions and a symposium co-sponsored by European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS). Once again, ISTSS was able to carry out its mission despite worldwide travel restrictions, and I am delighted to report that our 37th Annual Meeting attracted over 1,100 individuals from 40 countries! In addition, I would like to remind registrants that recorded sessions will be available to them for an entire year here (attendee login required).

Thirdly, Kellen staff were extremely flexible and accommodating over this past year, providing the much-needed logistical support to our Society to navigate this new virtual world. In particular, our Executive Director, Rick Koepke, and Program Director, Kristin Miodonski, went above and beyond to keep us on track, being pivotal more than once to ensure things actually happen.

Finally, I am grateful to our ISTSS membership who truly make this organization so special and welcoming. The first time I attended the ISTSS Annual Meeting was in 2008. I clearly remember standing a very long time in the cold at the entrance of the Palmer House in Chicago trying to decide whether I should enter to join the Welcome Reception, torn between my social fear (the only ISTSS member I knew was not attending the reception, and my proficiency in traumatic stress research and in English were limited), and my curiosity to meet new people working in what would become my main research field. I finally ended up entering (not after walking around the block a couple of times!) and met a group of trainees who immediately welcomed me to their table. I sometimes think back about that episode and believe that things could have been very different for my commitment to the field and to ISTSS, had I not met these people that day. I cannot recall their names, and do not think they remember me, but I feel that the important thing to remember here is that it is every single one of us that makes ISTSS so special: an open, warm, and welcoming place to foster scientific and interpersonal relationships.