ACS Leader Reflects on Legacy

Madeleine Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director  of the American Chemical Society.Credit: Peter Cutts

Madeleine Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the American Chemical Society.
Credit: Peter Cutts

Madeline Jacobs has held steadfast to the idea of improving lives through the transforming power of chemistry during her career. Now, after seeing all she set out accomplish during her time as the American Chemical Society’s director and chief executive officer come to fruition, Jacobs is ready to move on to something new.

Jacobs started her career with the American Chemical Society (ACS) as a reporter for Chemical & Engineering News in 1969. Here, she rose in the ranks – becoming the magazine’s editor-in-chief in 1995.

Her work at Chemical & Engineering News prepared her for the role that she would take on in 2003 as ACS’s executive director.

In the 11 years to come, Jacobs led ACS through a transformation – securing the society’s finances, creating a forward-looking strategic plan, reinventing the website and gaining a major web presence, helping to establish top ranked journals, and bolstering the technical meetings.

She recently sat down with Chemical & Engineering News to discuss her legacy. When asked to provide a farewell message, she had this to say:

“Nothing good happens without the power of people. The best part of having been in these leadership positions at ACS is getting exciting, important work done through the people here. This is a great organization. It has a really important mission. It has a great vision. I tell all employees when they first come here that whatever they do, they’re working on a mission that enables scientists to do their work better, more accurately, to advance the entire enterprise for humankind. Chemists and chemical engineers are part of the great solutions—protecting the environment, getting enough clean water and food, curing diseases like Ebola, creating new materials, energy. To me, that is really exciting. It’s been such an honor and a privilege to be part of such a noble mission and to be excited about coming in every day and advancing that mission.”

Get the rest of the interview here, and read about the challenges – and the rewards – during her time at ACS.

Here at ECS, we agree with Jacobs in that chemist and chemical engineers are part of the great solutions. That is why we are moving toward Open Access publication and creating opportunities such as the Science for Solving Society’s Problems Challenge.

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