By Angela Shoup
Recently, Kitty Werner, MPA, the Academy’s vice president of public affairs and executive director of Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE), mentioned that James (Jay) Hall, III, 2018−2020 chair of the Board of Directors for the ACAE, has been in continuous service to the Academy and the profession of audiology since participating as an Academy Founder in 1988.
This got me thinking a lot about service and commitment. When I think of the people I most admire in life, they are typically those who have dedicated themselves to service. They identify a need and they enthusiastically seek to be part of the solution. They positively impact the present and the future through service to others, service to great ideas or philosophies, and service and dedication to making a difference.
These individuals appear to have huge hearts. According to DeAnn Hollis, a volunteer coordinator, “the heart of a volunteer is never measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.”
In addition to Dr. Hall, we have several inspirational leaders in our profession who have been serial contributors. Past President Brad Stach, who served as the first secretary-treasurer of the Academy under the leadership of the first Academy President James Jerger, just completed another term on the board of directors. Dr. Stach continues to serve on the Academy’s Practice Policy Advisory Committee, which represents the Academy at the American Medical Association’s Relative Value Update Committee/Current Procedural Terminology Editorial Panel, alongside Paul Pessis, another Academy past president.
I would challenge anyone to tell me of a year in which Erin Miller, past president (2014−2015), has not served as a volunteer since joining the Academy. Many other past presidents continue to serve on multiple committees, with the Academy Foundation, and ACAE, including being on an advisory council for the current president.
As an inspirational activity, you might review the list of Academy Founders (www.audiology.org/about-us/academy-leadership/academy-founders) and past presidents (www.audiology.org/about-us/academy-leadership/board-directors/academy-presidents). You will find a number who are still actively serving in various roles in the Academy.
Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud.
Professionals at various stages of their career and students serve in many volunteer roles making significant contributions to the Academy and to the profession of audiology. There is not space here to mention all the committed volunteers who have been instrumental in securing the future of audiology, but you can review current council and committee members on the Academy’s website (www.audiology.org/get-involved/volunteer-opportunities/councils-committees-subcomittees-and-task-forces).
These professionals all have “day jobs”—typically very demanding “day jobs”—and multiple other professional and personal responsibilities, but they have dedicated much of their time, talents, and resources to the betterment of our profession, for their fellow audiologists as well as the public we serve.
Tom Brokaw noted that “it’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”
I feel a tremendous sense of inspiration, gratitude, and indebtedness to our colleagues who have previously, and are currently, truly making a difference in the trajectory of the field of audiology.
If you have not done so already, I hope you will consider joining them as a volunteer (www.audiology.org/get-involved/volunteer-opportunities). As the Academy of, by, and for audiologists, members who volunteer define the Academy and shape our profession.
This article is a part of the March/April 2021 Audiology Today issue.