2015 AAST Awards: AAST Leadership Award Winner Shalanda Mitchell
Shalanda Mitchell gives the nod to her powerhouse mentors who helped her become an AAST leadership award winner
Each year we've recognized individual members for their professional excellence, service and commitment to the association and to the sleep technology profession. They have inspired us with their commitment and passion to educate and innovate our members. Congratulations to this year's winners, and a big thank you to everyone who nominated and voted for them!
As a sleep technologist starting out, you may feel isolated.
That's why having a large organization's resources and having mentors who are your sounding board for your fears and frustrations within the field is so important, according to AAST Leadership Award recipient Shalanda Mitchell, RST, RPSGT.
Shalanda said she can point to several influential mentors throughout her career in the sleep field since 2000.
"So many people have pulled me along the way within AAST, and Marietta Bibbs, who is like an older sister to me is the one who first helped me into volunteering with the AAST," she said. "We have laughed together, cried together and all of the mentors I've had have really just been a phone call away for me when I needed them."
After graduating from Bellevue University, Shalanda got her start in the sleep medicine field while she was pursuing her masters and working at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. She received hands-on training to become a sleep technologist during her time there from Debbie Akers, a sleep technologist from Florida.
Through the encouragement of her peers, Shalanda joined several sleep technologist organizations like the Southeast/Southwest organization, where she eventually became president, the VASM, Southern Sleep Society and the AAST, where she is the chair of the Program Committee.
For the past five years, Shalanda worked as a member of the Program Committee through the guidance of several mentors and colleagues within the organization.
"For me educating others is key; as past president Rita Brooks likes to say 'we won't be here forever, you got to pay it forward by helping others,'" she said. "I enjoy giving back and for me joining AAST has been life changing for the mentorship and support you receive."
Throughout her involvement in the AAST, Shalanda hopes to advise and mentor other AAST members. For future annual meetings, she hopes to build some networking and meet-and-greet times within the annual meeting schedule to give a chance for new members and veteran members to establish meaningful relationships.
How can AAST cultivate a culture of mentoring? If you are interested in becoming a mentor or receiving mentorship please contact us here.