Jackie L. Clark, PhD
Board Certified in Audiology
Clinical Professor; University of Texas at Dallas/Callier Center, Dallas, TX
Private Practice Owner, Cedar Creek Hearing Center, Tool, TX
Managing Editor, International Journal of Audiology, Dallas, TX
BS: Textile Science, Merchandising, Colorado State University, 1975
MS: Communication Disorders, University of Texas at Dallas, 1987
PhD: Human Development and Communication Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, 1995
Why are you interested in serving on the Academy board?
I easily fell in love ("hook, line and sinker") with audiology, as a change-of-career person, while taking my first graduate level Audiology class. Since then, I have unabashedly drunk the "Kool-Aid" from the Audiology fountain with full gusto - year after year. Serving on the Academy board has provided me the privilege of working with other dedicated and passionate Audiologists. Without a doubt, my volunteer service on Academy board has allowed me to fine tune my leadership and collegiality skills while working with richly diverse boards and committees. It is always at the top of my mind the sobering honor and responsibility in representing the profession of Audiology while on occasion making those difficult decisions which hold long-lasting repercussions. My varied current work settings include: private practice owner; clinical professor within a top ranked AuD program; researcher; and managing editor of a scholarly peer reviewed journal. I believe the coupling of my past and current life professional perspectives with my passion for the profession of Audiology, have amply prepared me for stepping into the Academy board as President-Elect.
What challenges or key issues do you see for the Audiology profession in the next five years? What would you hope to accomplish relative to these challenges during your term on the board?
Though there are an abundance of issues that will have long-lasting repercussions upon the future of the profession of audiology, I believe there is a key issue that impacts many other issues. Currently, there seems to be a cacophony of voices from numerous organizations purporting to represent the Profession of Audiology. As leaders of THE ONLY organization in the world that represents the largest cohort of audiologists, the American Academy of Audiology is best equipped to synchronize members' voices and create harmonious sounds with the other organizations involved in ear and hearing health. One foundational tenet in successful marketing is to communicate, communicate, and communicate again! Our general Audiology Community Discussion Boards are a great example of the prevailing misperceptions about licensing versus ASHA certification of competence; inconsistent quality in AuD academic programs; misunderstanding about what are considered ethical practices; lack of membership legislative advocacy; and disengagement of membership at the annual conferences. The American Academy of Audiology has worked collegially with other organizations, and I have witnessed Academy board members advocating the mission, vision policies, and strengths of the Academy. Upon close investigation, it is also clear that the Academy has a plethora of resources, published guidelines and statements, expert opinion makers, etc. Yet, we still have the frequent comment from membership; "I don't like the way the Academy is going," or "Once again, the Academy isn't doing anything".
Unquestionably, the Academy is THE pre-eminent beacon organization that is recognized globally as providing authoritative and strategic guidance for the many facets of our profession. Gladwell in "The Tipping Point" suggests that there is "that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire . . . "I believe the tipping point for the profession of audiology is within arms-reach of the Academy. That tipping point will be accomplished through chronic/repetitive and simple communication to Academy membership, the public and clients we serve, as well as other organizations invested in ear and hearing care. We need to communicate, communicate, and communicate again our Academy's successes. We need to communicate, communicate, and communicate again about the Academy board deliberations (that are ready for public consumption) and share those important talking points for members to take to policy makers. Upholding those basic tenets of marketing will serve our Academy well.
What experience do you have in the planning, evaluation, and implementation of a strategic plan?
After having decades of experience in the capacity of a volunteer board member within various not-for-profit organizations, I have not only had the distinct pleasure and privilege of learning from incredible community leaders, but also witnessed some of the strengths and flaws that are inherently found in any volunteer organization. My 10-year tenure as an ex-officio board member, as Director of Publications for the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA), began in 2001 (in its infancy), continued an additional three years while holding the President-Elect, President, and Past-President post. I learned valuable lessons during those 13 years while TAA went through the predictable and unpredictable stages of growth. A few of those lessons that will continue to resonate with me are: establishing clear strategic planning is not only important for establishing a pathway for future decisions, but imbues confidence from membership that steady hands are at the helm of the profession; the world continues to change and to be relevant to our members and the public, it is critically important to consistently question and calibrate the effectiveness of decisions made by the board; occasionally, reactionary responses from any organization DO happen, and laser-sharp focus on mitigating negative impacts while communicating the overriding plan is critical; and when collaborating with other organizations, all parties must enter with the understanding that concessions are expected from all. I stepped away from the board of TAA with confidence in its ability to stay relevant to Texas Audiologists for many years to come.
List any experience in Financial Management. Describe your experience in developing and implementing a budget for practice, business, department, or organization?
I began the journey of businesses management as the President of a junior achievement business (Gemco) throughout three years of high school. The junior achievement model provides opportunities through experience and mentoring to create, plan, implement, and establish a fully functioning retail business each year. With the proper strategic plan, our business managed to win local and national awards for its success. It was the early experience and success in a Junior Achievement business that brought me to earn a BS in merchandising/marketing. Much of my classroom experiences in undergrad were solidified simultaneously while managing my families newly formed business. Not only was I the bookkeeper, but also the general and financial manager of this small business (that was later sold for a tidy profit). Much like junior achievement, the success of the family business was dependent upon developing a viable business plan and sticking within a realistic budget. My business management journey eventually led me to the buying office in a major department store in Dallas, then later to starting a small Audiology private practice in rural Texas a little more than 10 years ago. Granted, the retail corporation had somewhat more infra-structure cushion than the small private practice, but errors in decision-making in both instances provide little forgiveness. Though, over the years, I have engaged in a number of additional financial management experiences with volunteer boards, it has been exceptionally rewarding to finally marry my business management skill set to my passion for Audiology.
Select five competencies you feel best represent your leadership strengths.
Commitment, Communication Skills, Decision-making, Problem Solving, Relationship Building
Based on the five competencies you selected that best represent your leadership strengths, comment on how these qualities would positively affect your ability to serve on the Academy board.
As mentioned earlier, it has been a privilege serving on various volunteer boards. Consequently, I have learned a great deal about leadership and those qualities of leadership that instill or deplete board members' confidence and commitment to the organization. A successful and harmonious board doesn't just occur accidentally, but through careful and thoughtful leadership by the President. As the President of the Academy, it is important recognize and appreciate the diversity that is likely to occur within any volunteer board. Some of my competencies that I believe will aid in my ability to serve as the President of the Academy include: relationship building; commitment; communication skills; problem solving and decision-making.
Board members always look to the President to set the expectations and tenor of the board's actions and productivity. Relationship building with the Academy membership begins with the relationship of the Academy board members to each other. That is not to say that all board members will become the closest of friends, but the tenor of respecting the opinions of all board members during deliberations and discussions will build team spirit and relationships. In general, the board atmosphere will be one of collegiality. Conversely, the board members should be encouraged to make efforts at connecting and listening to many Academy members.
Commitment to the Academy's mission, preferred futures and strategic documents should be clearly to the board members. Equally important is the President's demonstration of a commitment for each board member to succeed in their tasks by: identifying strengths and preferences in board activities; and providing opportunities to develop skills through mentoring and training.
Effective and consistent communication to board members, Academy membership, and staff is critical. I do not profess to be the most perfect communicator, but I have witnessed great successes in demonstrating accountability to members is through frequent and simple communications to the membership. I have been very impressed with the weekly board reports from our Academy Executive Director, and can see the value of a similar regular update on the State of Academy.
Problem Solving and Decision-Making are intrinsically related, and heavily dependent upon board deliberation and discussion. I have witnessed great value in hearing the varying opinions and perspectives during board deliberations. The ability to see the many perspectives of problems through the eyes of others ultimately builds confidence when a decision is rendered. Though decisions are reached through the protocol of board voting on motions, ultimately it is the President's responsibility to ensure that board members are fully apprised of the situations at hand and given every opportunity to ask questions and verbalize opinions to make sure the decision making was attained in a responsible and thoughtful manner.
Collaboration, consensus building, and conflict resolution are three qualities associated with effective leadership. Reflect upon these characteristics and provide your perspective on how each of these traits would be of importance to you as the Academy President.
The old adage, "an unbalanced load will fail to reach its destination" is especially relevant to the concept of effective leadership. Effective leadership cannot occur in a vacuum, nor derived from a single unit, but rather through input from a team of leaders (as found in a board of directors, leaders from other organizations, staff leaders of the Academy, etc.) with leadership of the President. In order to accommodate the process of strategic deliberations about policy by a diverse team, the President of the Academy is ultimately responsible to establish an environment conducive to collaborative and fruitful discussions by the team. It does not infer that every team member will consistently be in complete agreement, nor does it infer that a stalemate in the decision-making process be considered an acceptable response. Diversity of thought and opinion is valuable and ensures that wide perspectives are recognized and given voice during discussions and debates. As such, a collaborative problem solving (or consensus building), potentially brokered by the President, is dependent upon seeking mutually agreeable resolutions of those differences. Once a mutually agreed upon resolution has been reached, it is the President's responsibility to ensure that all parties are reconciled in a collegial manner (conflict resolution). The Academy President has the ultimate responsibility to seek and succeed in achieving that right balance in all deliberations.