This year has already been a whirlwind. In some ways, it feels like it’s still January (as a Minnesotan, I’m thankful it’s not). But somehow, AAA 2021 Virtual and the SAA Conference 2021 Virtual are behind us. In less than a couple months, the 2021-2022 SAA Board of Directors will begin their term.
As I look at my calendar, I sadly realize that my time working with the national SAA is coming to an end. I served on the SAA Board of Directors in 2013-2014, and it has stayed a focal point of my audiology career since then. After graduating, I was lucky enough to volunteer on the SAA Advisory Committee (SAAAC), and the last few years I was so fortunate to Chair this wonderful group of professionals.
I volunteer with a handful of organizations and committees, but none of those compare to the enjoyment and growth I gained through the SAAAC. I want to share a few things I learned through the SAAAC in hopes of motivating you to continue volunteering with the Academy and SAA post-graduation.
- Students are incredibly motivated and bright. Every year, as a new Board begins their term, I’m in awe of their ideas, initiative, follow-through, and grit. I learned so much from each group of students I worked with, and look forward to working alongside these individuals. If you want to see people do something someone said could not be done, get involved with the SAA.
- Students are here to learn from us, but also to teach us. After graduating, it’s so easy to get stuck in the mindset that audiologists know more than students and are here to educate them. In some ways, that’s correct. However, if you foster true relationships and open communication, the learning and education is bidirectional. I have built so many strong connections with current and former SAA members; these are now people I can reach out to when I have questions on vestibular testing, ototoxicity, or even a pair of eyes to proofread something.
- Mentoring takes time and practice. When I started with the SAA, I had so much to learn about mentorship. Over the last few years I’ve realized I still have so much to learn about mentorship, and I likely always will. I served as a mentor to many students over the years, and have been lucky to be mentored by some of these same individuals. Each year and each relationship teaches me something else, and I look forward to continuing to grow in this capacity.
- There are multiple paths that lead to the same result. Anyone who knows me knows that I am highly organized, almost to a fault. I like to have processes, and I like to see processes consistently followed. However, sometimes processes can be limiting; they can put people and their ideas in a box. Many individuals flourish with less restrictions or criteria, and then we have the opportunity to see their true potential. Does it really matter HOW something is getting done, or does it matter THAT something is getting done?
- These relationships will last a lifetime. I intentionally say WILL and not CAN. Any relationship can last a lifetime, but in a small profession filled with dedicated individuals, these relationships will last. We will keep in touch, we will stay friends, we will volunteer together again, and we might even get to work together sometime!
I want to thank the SAA Board, volunteers, members, and staff for allowing me to join you on this path over the last seven years. I will say one last time how incredibly thankful and grateful I am for the time I spent with you all and everything I learned.
I look forward to working and volunteering with you again sometime soon!
Ashley Hughes, AuD, SAA Advisory Committee (SAAAC) Chair
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