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Jerger Future Leaders of Audiology Conference (JFLAC) 2014

Jerger Future Leaders of Audiology Conference (JFLAC) 2014

The fourth biennial Jerger Future Leaders of Audiology Conference (JFLAC) was held September 18–20, 2014, at the Academy headquarters in Reston, VA. Attendance at the JFLAC is limited to audiology professionals with six to 15 years of experience. The goal of the JFLAC is to provide contemporary information about the profession, with a focus on the development of leadership skills for the attendees from leaders within and outside of the field. The agenda addresses some of the history of the profession and the Academy, as well as "hot topics" in the field—ethics, contemporary discussions on leadership issues, and advocacy essentials. Twelve midcareer audiologists were selected among many entries received, using a competitive peer-review process. These young professionals (listed below) are among the best and brightest in the field today!

Meet and Greet
The group gathered on Thursday afternoon for a "meet and greet" with each other, as well as several of the JFLAC organizers and presenters. JFLAC cochair and Academy Past President Therese C. Walden and JFLAC cochair and current Academy board member (and former JFLACer) Lisa V. Christensen provided an overview of the conference, and President Erin Miller represented the Board of Directors in welcoming the new class of JFLACers. The Academy's director of membership and Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) operations, Sarah Sebastian, and director of operations and development for the AAA Foundation, Kathleen Devlin Culver, provided an overview of the Academy's organizational structure. Friday morning started bright and early with an eye-opening and provocative Academy and audiology profession history lesson from Academy founder and Past President Brad Stach. The following session was a highly engaging and interactive discussion on leadership issues in health care led by Neil Grunberg, PhD, professor of medical and clinical psychology at the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Grunberg challenged the attendees with rapid-fire questions and presented scenarios that made the attendees think about how leadership styles (or lack thereof!) influence professional and organizational culture. Academy President Erin Miller engaged the attendees in a discussion on professional ethics and provided a contemporary framework on how societal influences play a critical role in shaping ethical behavior.

Road Trip!
Friday afternoon was spent traveling to the Academy's Capitol Hill offices at 312 Massachusetts Avenue, in Washington, DC, to have the JFLACers learn about advocacy and lobbying from the experts. The Academy's director of payment policy and legislative affairs, Kate Thomas, welcomed everyone in the James Jerger Conference Room and provided an outline of the Academy's current advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession. The Academy's advocacy partners, Jennifer Bell and Michaela Simms from the public-policy and consulting firm of Chamber Hill Strategies, joined Kate to offer a general overview of the current state of legislative initiatives and regulatory issues impacting the profession of audiology. A frank Q&A session proceeded from the information provided by these subject-matter experts who are on the front line of public policy and regulatory affairs. Their keen insight and unparalleled knowledge of the current legislative landscape provided the JFLACers with a level of awareness of issues both within and outside the profession that will help these young professionals continue the push toward better recognition of audiologists among lawmakers and regulators. The attendees unanimously agreed that this session was immensely worthwhile and illuminating!

Time Management and the Great Debate
On Saturday morning, Jeffrey Cufaude, a workshop facilitator and strategy consultant with the firm Idea Architects, returned for the fourth time to the JFLAC to provide a crash course on how the attendees can maximize their own time management skills. The group spent time preparing for this session with preconference homework and, after an exhaustive morning-long session, they had developed a greater depth of understanding about how personality types and management abilities interact and influence work environments and organizations. Throughout the conference, the attendees had opportunities to prepare for the "Great Debate" session that took place on Saturday afternoon. The participants were assigned (pro and con) to one of two topics: "Computers Will Soon Replace All Audiologists" and "Different Legislation to Promote Audiology Services (Direct Access, 18x18, etc.) Serves All Audiologists Well, Giving a Unified Front to the General Public." The teams did a terrific job preparing for the debate, and their presentations were creative, engaging, and informative. Carmen Brewer, who served as the chair/cochair of the JFLAC in 2008, 2010, and 2012, returned to chair the judging panel and made awards to the debate winners. The closing dinner was a special time to network and nurture relationships developed at the JFLAC. The attendees expressed their gratitude to have the opportunity to learn so much valuable information about the Academy, the profession, and leadership skills, and they each committed to continue and/or increase their participation in issues that will advance the profession of audiology. With 58 JFLAC alumni to date, these individuals are everywhere in the profession. They are board members, committee members/chairs, Foundation members, state academy presidents, editors/contributors to audiology print and Web media, presenters at local, national, and international venues, Trivia Bowl winners, and so much more.

Congratulations to the 2014 JFLAC Class!
Adrianne Fazel, AuD
Erica Hansen, AuD
Gina Hounam, PhD
Lindsey Jorgensen, AuD, PhD
Edward Lobarinas, PhD
Steven Madix, PhD
Gayla Poling, PhD
Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD
Jill Smith, AuD
Hillary Snapp, AuD
Alejandra Ullauri, AuD
Stacey Weisend, AuD

Therese C. Walden, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology, is a past president of the American Academy of Audiology.