By Debra A. Lopez, CRA, FAHRA
March 2010 — I just returned from a symposium for chief elected and chief staff officers, presented by ASAE & the Center for Association Leadership. I attended with Ed Cronin, AHRA’s CEO, which afforded us a chance to connect and learn a little bit about each other’s leadership styles, as well as discuss everyday association business.
The program is designed with the special nature of voluntary organizations in mind. Last year, past-president Penny Olivi talked about what makes associations unique: in an association the same populations are the owners, the customers, and the workforce of the organization. Tecker Consultants, LLC, defines an association as “a group of people who voluntarily come together to solve common problems, meet common needs, and accomplish common goals.” Our common problems, needs, and goals all have to do with medical imaging management, and we certainly have plenty of each!
Just like in our own hospital departments and imaging centers, the current economic conditions require AHRA, as an association, to look at reshaping member benefits, eliminating or reducing those that are less important to our members, and beefing up those our members find of higher value. The only way to know this is to research what means the most to our members. We do this regularly with the various surveys we ask you to complete and then use this feedback to refine the information and educational offerings we provide, as well as the way we provide them. So please take the time to complete our surveys so that we know what it is you need from your association. We need your help to remain relevant as our world changes. Have you noticed that there is a place on AHRA’s homepage that asks for suggestions for future poll questions? If not, I encourage you to check it out!
So, how does a twenty-first century association remain valuable to its members? Per ASAE & the Center for Association Leadership, three things are required:
- Commitment: Consistent and organized focus on important things of high value that require coherent effort over time.
- Content: Advocacy effective clout that influences the beliefs and behaviors of others that affect things that are significant to me; Knowledge: insight that enables me to be successful at things that really matter to me.
- Community: Enjoyable shared experience that makes me feel better about myself and my place in the world.
I encourage you to let me or any board member know how our association can bring value to you. As Glen Tecker of Tecker Consultants, LLC said in the symposium, “You should ensure, as leadership, you spend as much time working on the organization as you do working in it.” We should not be looking down on what is, but looking up and forward to what’s next. And this answer changes every day.
Many of our members had to deal with some record breaking snowfalls in February. I hope that you have all tunneled out by now, warmed up a little, and that March both comes in and goes out like a lamb!
AHRA Department: Publications Director
Hometown: Canton, MA
Family: Most of my family lives within a 30 mile radius of Boston—it’s very tribal. My husband’s from Ireland. We met in Dublin and he followed me back to the States (I call him my souvenir). We go back regularly and I consider it a blessing and a curse for my mother-in-law to be 3000 miles away. We have two sweet and funny kiddos, Hannah and Malachy (rhymes with “lost-my-key”), and a very lazy but cuddly dog, Henry.
School: I received my BA from Syracuse University, with a major in history and a minor concentration in writing. My core focus of study was on modern American military history. Sidenote for any football fans: I graduated with Donovan McNabb.
Interests: Reading and writing! I won local and state wide writing contests at ages 8 and 13, started my own newspaper for fun when I was 11, won a spelling bee at 12, wrote for my high school newspaper, got my first job in a library, tutored college students on writing when I was still in college, and began a career in publishing immediately after graduation. (See a pattern there??) Aside from being a word nerd, I love travel, wine, shoes, and NPR.
Deb Lopez, CRA, FAHRA is President of the 2009-2010 AHRA Board of Directors. She lives in San Jose, CA and can be reached at email@example.com.