IOA Communications Committee Co-Chair Mary Conger provided this summary:
1) The Independent Voice blog. The blog is now embedded into the IOA's website. What was once a quarterly newsletter distributed to members via email transitioned into a dynamic online blog in September 2017. Due to operational and cost constraints, however, it wasn't able to be built on IOA's old site at that time. Now, The Independent Voice (aka, "the blog") is fully integrated into the IOA's website. As a members-only benefit, it is available to all logged-in users of the site, who can freely read and comment upon its contents.
2) Improved Member Directory. Thanks to a much-improved Member Directory feature, members can easily locate and contact each other through the new website. Members can host their own profile on the site, including adding a profile picture, setting status updates, and establishing one-on-one connections with other members (not to mention updating their contact info, and accessing and paying invoices with ease).
3) Discussion Circles. This important social networking function of the website allows members to join and create discussion groups (called "Discussion Circles") by region, sector, area of expertise, or topics of interest. Circles for member self-introductions, the upcoming IOA2019 conference, and an "Ombuds Help Desk" have already been established.
4) Quick Links. The new site utilizes "quick links" along the righthand side menu (or at the bottom, depending on device screen size) that help users find what they're looking for quickly. For example, the IOA Conference's new site (yes, another new site!) is currently linked there for easy access.
It's also important to note that, in December, the IOA Board of Directors approved making the Journal of the IOA (JIOA) open access for a trial period of one year. All users can now access all issues of the JIOA through the new website.
Finally, the Communications Committee appreciates everyone's patience as they work to improve the site content. This new website represents a major upgrade in platform; it is now time to undertake an upgrade in content, both for accuracy and to more effectively convey the value of the organizational ombuds role to a general public. If there are any IOA members who would like to help with this effort, the Communications Committee is currently welcoming new members and can contact Mary Conger (mary.conger [at] gmail.com) or Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg (RuthyK [at] brown.edu] directly to volunteer.
IOA members will need to reset their passwords for full access. Instructions were contained in an email to members a couple weeks ago. (IOA Homepage.)