Marilyn Morris, Ph.D., is the 2014 AAPS president.
For three days in February, AAPS volunteer leaders from the executive council (EC) and sections met with AAPS staff on Captiva Island, Florida, for a leadership retreat. Every EC member was present and every section was represented. It was a great break from the winter weather most of us left behind at home, and it was a very productive meeting for AAPS. The focus of the retreat was “leading a diverse volunteer organization.” I wanted face-to-face time with the leadership to achieve a number of goals including building an appreciation for individual differences, exploring ways to work together more effectively, and increasing effective communication. In particular, I was interested in addressing how AAPS can most effectively use our volunteers’ time. In the first half of the retreat, Learning Technologies Inc. facilitated and helped us find out a lot about our similarities and differences through the Five Factor Profile. We went through a number of team-building exercises and found that we could be successful if we collaborate and work together and that we could have fun doing it.
We took these concepts and applied them to AAPS. AAPS is always looking at better ways to serve the needs of our members, including through the Career Center, Annual Meeting programming, and international and domestic outreach. We were also able to discuss changes and new approaches, large and small, that might make AAPS better. I appreciated the honest feedback on programs and constructive suggestions and criticism; we need this to move forward as an association. We can’t stay the same, with all the changes happening in our professions and lives and with new technologies. This retreat is one of the only opportunities we have to meet face-to-face to discuss issues of importance.
What did I find most valuable? Number 1 was getting to better know our section leadership, so we can work together more effectively. I now know the face that goes with the voice on the teleconference. I got to meet, talk with, tour with, and have breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a lot of motivated, dedicated, and fun-loving people. And they are all volunteers.
My question to you is the following: Why do our members volunteer to become leaders? Why haven’t you volunteered? I believe we can all make a difference; some commit their time and effort to making that difference, and maybe, like me, they get a lot more back: friends and colleagues and maybe even the knowledge that you initiated or contributed to a new program or way of doing things that in some way (and this might be ever so small a way) that has benefited our profession.