June 2018 President's Corner
Preparing to write my final President’s Corner, I have experienced a whirlwind of emotions. Of course, there is some sadness. The 2017-2018 SAA Board of Directors and national SAA volunteer terms are coming to an end. Members of our national SAA community will soon be scattered as some of us , including myself, have graduated, and others head to their externships or continue to work hard to finish their degrees! There is also pure joy considering how much we have accomplished this year. Together we oversaw the creation of the SAA State Ambassador Program, put together another year of fantastic student programming at AAA 2018, continued to foster strong relationships between national SAA and local SAA chapters, read student-focused articles in Audiology Today and SAAy Anything, and continued to engage, empower, and lead audiology students across the country. I cannot thank you all enough for your help!
As I reflect on my three transformative years volunteering with national SAA, I feel it is important to let you in on a secret: being a volunteer, and especially being President of SAA, was difficult for me. Not just because of the workload – because as graduate students, we are all capable of making miracles happen with a little time management – but because I hate public speaking! I pushed my fears aside this year because I had a vision for the organization and I felt called to be President. For anyone reading this with similar fears or anxieties about leadership positions within local or national SAA and the requisite public speaking that comes with it, I believe in you. It is possible to overcome these invisible hurdles and make a difference if you want it badly enough.
This year, the SAA Board of Directors underwent a major transition and governance restructure. Previous SAA Boards critically examined how SAA was working for its membership and envisioned ways that SAA could be more efficient and more productive, but with great change comes great challenges. I wanted to be part of tackling that change and all the challenges that came with it. I was surprised, however, by just how much those changes allowed me to grow as a leader.
This past year has taught me that an organization can only thrive when we fully embrace the unique experiences and approaches that those around us have. My personal leadership style already skews heavily towards servant-leadership, but I found myself learning to become more selfless and to become a better listener, to hear new ideas (even ones I disagreed with!), and to develop new leaders. For my very first President’s Corner, I talked about the Boy with the Purple Socks, a character from “Harriet the Spy, ” who tells us “if we only listen to one person’s opinion, we may never get anywhere new.” I believe the Board of Directors, our volunteers, and our membership have brought us somewhere new that I could never have envisioned working entirely by myself.
I have been fortunate to be entrusted by the membership to lead within and at the helm of our organization for the past year. Now, I am thrilled to pass the otoscope to Liz Marler, our incoming SAA President, so that, together with the 2018-2019 Board of Directors and national SAA volunteers, SAA will continue to grow and develop the future leaders of our profession! Thank you for allowing me to be your President! As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Jennifer Whittaker, AuD
2017-2018 SAA President
Past President's Corners