Yesterday marked the end of an era for the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) as Bruce Langoulant, Chairman of the Meningitis Centre in Australia and parent of a meningitis survivor, stepped down from his role as President.
For the past nine years Bruce has led the organisation, with formal election as CoMO President in 2008. One of his first steps as President was to form a Governing Council of CoMO members, creating a formal structure to enable members to be more involved in the running of CoMO and to make the important decisions to move the organisation forward.
Bruce’s leadership saw the establishment of CoMO as an incorporated company in Australia and later as a registered charity, with its head office in Perth. From here, he and Linda Gibbs, office manager, recruited new members. Today, we have double the number of global members in our CoMO family than we did back in 2008, thanks to their drive, determination and support.
In 2012, Bruce took CoMO online with the development of the current CoMO website and distinctive corporate branding. He has travelled extensively throughout his Presidency, developing lasting relationships with other influential patient organisations, thought leaders, health professionals and members of industry. Many of these relationships are still going strong today, providing CoMO with extensive knowledge, support and funding to continue its essential global work.
Of course, no one will forget Bruce’s leadership at CoMO’s global conferences. Bruce describes these events as “always memorable and a rare opportunity for any group of people”’. At CoMO’s recent global conference in Seattle he asked, “How many people get to be a part of a truly global family, where they truly know the other family members, and get to share time with them around a globally representative table?” He is “immensely proud to be a driving force in their existence”.
Leading an organisation is no easy task and support is vital. Throughout Bruce’s time as President, Linda Gibbs has worked alongside him as an extremely loyal and committed colleague and friend. Her role in the many achievements CoMO has seen during the past eight years must not be overlooked, she has been a vital support to not only Bruce but all members of CoMO.
Bruce and Linda will still remain heavily involved in the management of CoMO, continuing to share their knowledge and experience with the rest of the CoMO family. Linda will be moving into the role of ‘Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator’ and Bruce will continue to have an active role as part of the Governing Council.
Today, CoMO starts a new chapter with the election of Chris Head as CoMO President. Chris has been a member of CoMO for the past 7 years in his role as CEO at the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) in Bristol, UK. Through his years of involvement in CoMO, as Treasurer, Europe/Africa lead and more recently Vice President, Chris has played a key part in determining the direction of the organisation.
Bruce commented, “It is hugely comforting to know that Chris will be taking over as CoMO President, with his broad knowledge of meningitis advocacy and research and a sound knowledge of CoMO and its history, the organisation is ready for its next phase and is so full of promise!”
Chris will be establishing a new head office in Bristol, UK, supported by Sam Rosoman, Admin and Marketing Officer. Chris commented, “I am honoured to be elected as President of CoMO, our individual members are truly inspiring in the work they do and together we can be a hugely effective global team. It will be a challenge to fill Bruce’s shoes and there is still much that needs to be done to achieve our goal of a world free from meningitis, but I am excited to take this next step and move CoMO into a new phase.”