Have you ever wondered how to become a member of the ASHA Board of Directors … or ASHA president, for that matter? It won’t happen overnight, but you can move step-by-step along the long path to leadership. There are a number of pathways for achieving an ASHA leadership position; one travels through related professional organizations (RPOs).
Several RPOs focus on constituents in communication sciences and disorders. These professional groups collaborate with ASHA. Some examples include the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing (NBASLH), Council on Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Council of State Association Presidents, state speech-language-hearing associations, and more.
RPOs provide varied training opportunities to prepare members for service to ASHA. They also serve as avenues for understanding the internal operations of an organization and the broader relationship with ASHA. Further, RPOs offer leadership training through mentoring, committee work, committee leadership and board membership. Often, outstanding leaders rise to the top of RPOs.
Take, for example, Elise Davis-McFarland, ASHA president-elect. Her volunteer pathway shows how someone can start the road to leadership by working with RPOs, move into participation on ASHA committees and then onto the ASHA Board of Directors.
This post is part of a three-part series on leadership all written by past presidents of ASHA. Ejoy the first two installments:
The Many Benefits of ASHA Leadership by Elizabeth McCrea
Davis-McFarland started by being active with NBASLH. Because of her outstanding work, she was elected to its Board of Directors and subsequently became chair. During her tenure as chair, she established a strategic plan that successfully increased membership and improved financial stability. She was also active in the National Association for Student Personnel Administration (program committee member; chair, program committee; community college advisory committee member) and the National Council on Student Development (board vice president; publications editor). She credits these prior leadership positions for providing many valuable lessons and experiences.
Davis-McFarland then moved onto leadership roles in ASHA. She’s active in the Special Interest Groups (SIGs), serving as a SIG coordinator. She also serves on numerous ASHA committees, including Board of Ethics; Multicultural Issues Board; Professional Practices Committee; Committee on Practice Guidelines for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists; and several ad hoc committees. In addition, she chaired the ASHA Committee on Honors.
Davis-McFarland will serve as ASHA president in 2018. She gained extensive leadership experience in RPOs before she moved onto the ASHA scene. And with ASHA, she gained even more knowledge, while putting into practice strategies and actions she previously developed.
Who among you is now ready for service to ASHA after an active career in RPO volunteer leadership? What will be your story? Have you created your pathway to the ASHA Board of Directors? The members of the ASHA Committee on Leadership Cultivation hope so, because the association needs you.
Tommie L. Robinson, Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP, is chief of hearing and speech and director of the Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. He is also an associate professor of pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Robinson was 2010 ASHA president and is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders; 11, Administration and Supervision; 14, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity; and 16, School-Based Issues. firstname.lastname@example.org