It is hard to believe that another annual meeting has come to pass. Thanks to the hard work of the Program Committee, the dedication of our speakers and the support of the membership, the AAST 34thAnnual Meeting in Boston was a huge success. I also thank all of our corporate sponsors who contributed to the meeting and helped make it so much fun.
One of the best parts of the meeting for me is getting to see old friend and making new ones throughout the week. Being able to talk to other members in person is vital for me as AAST president, and having the opportunity for this type of exchange between the leadership and the membership is important for the continued growth and development of the AAST.
Our Program Committee volunteers gave many hours of service in the development of this year’s educational program. I thank each of them for their valuable contributions to the meeting. I am proud of this committee’s professionalism, and I received a lot of positive feedback about the meeting from everyone I spoke with. These comments will be shared with the rest of the board of directors as we do our best to review the meeting and implement changes for next year.
Many of the topics at this year’s meeting were focused on the changes we are facing today in our profession. At the new Advances in Sleep Technology course in October, the AAST will continue to provide guidance to help sleep technologists navigate current and forthcoming changes in the profession. The “OCST and the Future of Sleep Technology” course will help attendees learn how to implement OCST and develop innovative programs that will enable your sleep center to thrive during these uncertain times. It will be an outstanding learning opportunity, and a great way to earn 13.00 CECs. Register by Sept. 26 to save! View the course brochure and get complete details on the AAST website at www.aastweb.org.
As a result of the 2012 AAST spring election, the following individuals were elected and installed as members of the AAST Board of Directors at the AAST General Membership Meeting in Boston. Rita Brooks is now the president-elect, and she will take office as president in June 2013. Cynthia Mattice is the treasurer, taking over for Bill Rivers after his long tenure of faithful service in this office. However, Bill will continue to provide valuable service to the board over the next year. Rita’s transition to president-elect opened a one-year vacancy for a director-at-large, and Bill accepted an appointment by the board of directors to fill the unexpired portion of her term. Lastly, Will Eckhardt and David Wolfe were installed as our newest Directors-at-Large. I congratulate each of these members and look forward to working with them in the year ahead.
As I installed our new board members in June, I started to think about the qualities that make a board member effective. What attributes do effective board members share, and what motivates them to want to serve the AAST and the profession as a volunteer on the board of directors? Over the last year, I have had the pleasure of getting out to several state and regional sleep society meetings across the country. I got to meet and talk to members as well as non-members. One of my goals as AAST president is to identify, cultivate and recruit good volunteers. I hope to host a meeting this fall to promote leadership development among some of our committee members and chairs. I truly feel that through mentorship we can develop the next generation of AAST leaders.
So what makes an effective AAST leader? First, I think you need to have a clear understanding of the AAST’s strategic goals and objectives, and an understanding of the role of a board member as a representative of the membership. Always evaluate your own and the group’s performance and effectiveness based on the achievement of these goals and objectives. You need to be forward thinking, always considering how the AAST can improve as an association and advance the profession. It is important to realize that the members of the board of directors, as a group and individually, have a fiduciary responsibility to be wise stewards of the organization’s funds.
Board members have to be concise and to the point when participating in discussions at board meetings, understanding how the group decision-making process works. It is possible to voice personal opinions during discussion while ultimately supporting the final group decision -especially outside of the boardroom.
Leadership needs to be accessible to the members. It is absolutely necessary for board members to make every effort to attend leadership and membership events. In addition to facilitating two-way communication with members, this level of participation enables leaders to mentor others and prepare them for leadership roles.
I encourage any AAST member who has a desire to volunteer to take the leap. Volunteers give to the association a lot of personal time, which can involve numerous sacrifices. However, I can tell you that I find it to be personally rewarding to volunteer for my professional association.
Until we meet again,