Do you know about INFORMS Speaker Program?

2018 Speakers Program Committee: Gary Gaukler (chair), Sheldon H. Jacobson, Ozlem Ergun

If your student chapter has not used the INFORMS Speakers Program before, this article is for you! Read on and find out about the fantastic benefits this program can provide for your chapter. If your chapter has used this program before, let this article serve as an inspiration to include a speaker in your upcoming events.

The Speakers Program has been in place for decades and allows INFORMS chapters (and especially student chapters) to invite INFORMS members as speakers to their chapters. The program has assembled a star-studded collection of potential speakers (all of them INFORMS members), covering topics as varied as the areas in which Operations Research, Management Sciences, and Analytics can be applied. Earlier this year, INFORMS and the Speakers Program Committee have made a few critical changes to help the program maximize its value for their members.

The focus of the program remains unchanged: connect chapters to outstanding speakers in OR, Management Science, and Analytics. Currently, there are more than 50 speakers available through the Speakers Program, with diverse topic areas including bracketology, RFID and IoT, Voting Systems, Gerrymandering, Homeland Security, Emergency Medical Services, Game Theory, and Vehicle Routing, among others. For a complete list of speakers and topics, visit The Speakers Program continues to be an opportunity, especially for student chapters, to attract world-class speakers to their local events.

There are a number of new features of the Speakers Program.  First, the Speakers Program website ( makes it easy to browse the list of available speakers. Submitting a request for a speaker is as simple as filling in an online form with the details about the chapter requesting the speaker, the timeframe of the request, and the requested speaker(s).

Second, it has been made financially easier for chapters to host speakers through the Speakers Program. There are no honoraria to pay for the speakers; therefore, chapters are only responsible for actual hosting expenses. INFORMS recognizes that many chapters, especially the smaller chapters, lack financial resources. Therefore, INFORMS provides funding to help partially cover travel, hotel, local transportation, and/or meals. Simply submit a list of expected expenses through the online form and INFORMS will work with chapters to determine what is the budget and what can be covered. In cases of financial hardship, such as for many student chapters, INFORMS may cover up to 100% of the costs.

It is the committee’s hope that many more student chapters will be motivated and encouraged to take advantage of this program. Thus, please consider the significant added value of the Speakers Program to upcoming meetings and events in your chapter and submit a speaker request at

A few notes to keep in mind if your chapter would like to use the program: All speakers are volunteers; they all have daily jobs, and hence, their availability for any specific date is subject to their own schedule. Therefore, we encourage you to request speakers at least three months in advance of the date of your potential event. It is also advisable to be flexible with either the dates and/or speakers; it is often reasonable to inquire about the availability of multiple (albeit prioritized) speakers.

We hope to see your speaker requests in the pipeline soon! If you have any further questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact Tracy Cahall at