By Ernesto A. Cerdena, PHDc, RT, CRA, FAHRA
It has been a very busy few weeks for the AHRA and AHRA Education Foundation Boards of Directors. At RSNA, the AHRA team consisting of Lori Ann Burns, EF Foundation Chair, Ed Cronin, AHRA CEO, and Brad Novak from Association Development Solutions strolled the South and North Halls where the technical exhibits were set up. The AHRA team spent three days meeting with our corporate partners to express our appreciation for their continued support of AHRA and the Education Foundation. Our discussions with the vendors were very positive, productive, and enlightening. A common theme emerged from these engaging discussions: as we delivered our accountability reports, vendors told us about their different strategies and tactics to connect with their stakeholders more effectively. For example, brainstorming with KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) has been more important than ever for effectively positioning, branding, and marketing their products and services. There has also been a shift in focus toward building partnerships and relationships with the decision makers instead of simply selling equipment. Overall, the meetings were successful and resulted in continued commitment and support from our corporate partners.
Those of us at RSNA then traveled and met the rest of the board in Boston for our scheduled face-to-face AHRA and EF Board of Directors meeting, which included a visit to the AHRA headquarters to meet with the staff. The agenda began with the Education Foundation session; the board was fully engaged in their discussions on existing and developing scholarships as well as other EF programs. The board also reviewed financial updates.
To save the cost of taxi or bus transportation, both the AHRA staff and board members with cars offered to drive everyone to the staff office. Four members decided to be my passengers. As a safe New York driver, I drove very cautiously and within the speed limit. One of my passengers indicated that I drove like an old man! The traffic was horrendous (so imagine my speed). But it was worth it when, upon reaching our destination, the AHRA staff proudly gave us the tour of the well-organized office. The walls were decorated with many AHRA histories, plaques, and frames depicting the significant achievements of our association. We had some great conversation over wine and cheese, followed by a nice dinner at the historic Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. The 300 year old colonial landmark was filled with impressive antiques, complemented by festive holiday decorations. Our first day ended by driving back (with much less traffic) to the Boston Logan Airport hotel.
The second day of our board meeting began with a light breakfast and a short team building exercise. The exercise required the entire team to hold hands together in a circle and jump in four different directions. While short, it was fun and enough to make everyone alert before beginning the two hour “Full Value Engagement” workshop. The workshop resulted into deeper discussions about our collective boards’ engagement through: a) mission focus, b) ability to adapt, c) individual board member involvement, and d) consistency of values, agreement, and integrated action.
The board members and staff also spent a lot of time delving into the strategic and operational plans. There will be a lot of exciting action items and initiatives that we will start deploying within the next few months up to the end of 2016. The entire team also went over other significant issues and discussions such as finances, regulatory affairs, communications and marketing, the RACC/CRA, and many other topics important to our members. The meeting concluded with each member of the board providing feedback about their likes, dislikes, and opportunities for improvement in the future. It was an amazing validation of the boards’ engagement and commitment to our association.
As we celebrate the holiday season, I would like to thank each of you for your continuing support and effort toward making our association successful! Wishing you all the best in health, happiness, and prosperity in the New Year!
Ernesto A. Cerdena, PHDc, RT, CRA, FAHRA is the president of the 2015-2016 AHRA Board of Directors. He is the director of diagnostic imaging/radiology services at Waterbury Hospital in Waterbury, CT. He can be reached at email@example.com.