Let Me Hear From You: The Work Continues—January Board of Directors Meeting Update

Let Me Hear From You: The Work Continues—January Board of Directors Meeting Update

Like many of you at the beginning of a new year, the Academy Board of Directors evaluates what has happened over the past year and begins discussions regarding any adjustments needed in our strategic direction. Our quarterly face-to-face meeting in January has actually become a “virtual meeting” for most of the board members. The president, president-elect, and past president meet in Reston with the Academy executive director and staff, while the members-at-large meet via our videoconference platform. With today’s technology, we can accomplish much during this type of meeting and it helps our board colleagues avoid weather delays and travel issues to attend a meeting on the east coast.

The “presidents” started their two-day meeting on Thursday, January 22 with a face-to-face meeting with our lobbying firm, Chamber Hill Strategies. The group discussed strategy for the 114th congressional session and other foundational matters that we need to focus on during this session. Ultimately, the Academy’s overarching goal is professional autonomy. Our near-term goals must address what we do to enhance our ability of achieving this goal. The board was provided with an update from our lobbyists on Friday and we held further discussions regarding our advocacy strategy for the year.

A second “virtual meeting” with our Academy partner’s leadership (American Academy of Audiology Foundation [AAAF], American Board of Audiology [ABA], Student Academy of Audiology [SAA], Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education [ACAE]) also took place on Thursday. Those located in the Reston area met in the Academy office while leadership outside the area joined virtually from their practices. We had a very productive meeting and our partners are excited to update the membership in the coming months about the progress made with many of their projects. Notable are the final results from the practice analysis the ABA has directed, preparations for the upcoming SAA Conference, and a report from the ACAE trip to South Korea.

On Friday, the board meeting commenced with president-elect, Larry Eng, reviewing procedures for the Academy’s mid-year committee review. January begins a review of the productivity of the committees, discussions relative to any changes to committee charge, and/or structure that would allow for the most effective and efficient committee operations.

Prior to the board’s discussion regarding our legislative and regulatory advocacy strategy, they were pleased to receive the report from our executive director, Tanya Tolpegin, CAE, MBA, that a new senior director of advocacy and government relations was hired and begins February 3, 2015. Marilyn Richmond comes to the Academy with a wealth of legislative and regulatory advocacy experience, spending 18 years of her career with the American Psychological Association as the associate executive director for government relations, practice organization. Our committee leadership had an opportunity to take part in the interview process and were extremely impressed with Marilyn’s approach and experience. The board and committee leadership look forward to working with and learning from Marilyn.

The board was also provided an overview by the senior director of meetings and education, Michelle Beckner, CMP, CEM, CMM, regarding the specialty meetings template. We discussed potential topics for our first Academy specialty meeting slated for fall 2015. We learned more about the final preparations which are taking place for the largest gathering of audiologists in the world, AudiologyNOW! 2015 in San Antonio, Texas. Program chair Helena Solodar, her sub-committee chairs and committee members, along with Michelle and her staff team, are placing the finishing touches on what will be an extraordinary meeting. Educational opportunities abound with fun activities infused throughout. You aren’t too late to register and join your colleagues in beautiful San Antonio and learn how you can enhance your audiology practice and continue to “Steer with Success.”

The senior director of communications and membership, Amy Miedema, CAE, provided the board with an overview of proposed plans to streamline communications and expand volunteer engagement. A healthy discussion ensued regarding how we might best meet our member’s needs regarding the most significant Academy updates. Additionally, the board heard from the Academy staff regarding our operational status and a staffing update from the executive director.

Other routine business included motions to accept the December 2014 conference call minutes, the November 2014 financial statements and investment report, the consent agenda, and the updates to the description of the Academy Honor awards, which all passed. The board was also pleased to approve the addition of a new award titled the Marion Downs Award for Excellence in Pediatric Audiology, honoring the mother of pediatric audiology. Finally, to preserve the Academy history, the board approved an expenditure to digitally archive the first 10 years of Audiology Today. Stay tuned over the coming months and you will see these archived editions available electronically on our Academy Web site.

I’m pleased to report our progress continues. The board of directors, with the help of our dedicated staff, strive to develop programs and initiatives to enrich our association. Our ultimate goal is to remain essential in the lives of our membership.

Until next time…