By Carrie Pagliano, PT, DPT
I would be lying if I said I knew what I was getting into when I volunteered in the summer of 2013 to chair a task force to explore a potential change in the Section on Women’s Health name.
I’d be lying if I said that I totally appreciated at the time how this work would inspire our organization to look at itself carefully in the mirror to determine not only who we are, but who we want to become.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to how the gravity of this journey has deepened my commitment to a tribe of people who I thought was already strong.
This past summer our SOWH Board of Directors sat down with the intent of revising and updating our strategic plan, a common association practice that should occur every three to five years. We knew, however, that with the depth of research we’d gained from working with Navigate Consulting, the Name Change Task Force, and the 2016 Membership Survey results, there was a strong possibility we would be doing more.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being awestruck, contemplating our association’s 40 years of existence, considering all the achievements of the leaders before me. I felt the gravity and importance of updating a mission, vision, and strategic plan of an organization that had earned worldwide respect. Looking at photos of the women who founded the Section on Obstetrics and Gynecology four decades ago, I can only imagine how they felt in the significance of that moment.
It was with great respect, care, and an abundance of well-researched information and membership feedback that our board thoughtfully crafted an updated mission, vision, and strategic plan with the assistance of strategic consultant John Parke of Leadership Synergies and our Association Management Group staff. I can’t tell you the conversations were easy, since it’s an understatement to say we have passion among our board and members!
What I can say, though, is that we agreed it was simply not acceptable to merely re-commit to the status quo and move slowly and ostensibly along. It wasn’t enough to just be. It was imperative to channel the energies of our founders who chose to give a voice to those without one, to not be pushed into our next 40 years but to consciously decide who we wanted to become.
It is with that spirit that I’m unbelievably proud to be part of a board and organization that isn’t afraid to look in the mirror, tackle the big questions, and show the leadership needed to make decisions around who we want to be in this next moment. Who needs a voice that we can lend ours to? Are we a “who?” Are we a “what?” What do we—as the consultants asked us–“own” in the physical therapy community?
I encourage you to take a few minutes to check out the Section’s new mission, vision, and strategic plan—again, each one informed by your feedback and our research. Thank you for sharing so much of your own passion and opinions with us, and please consider getting involved in the next steps: the actual exciting work! We will need all hands on deck to “move PT forward” in our specialty field.
We also welcome your thoughts as the Name Change Task Force continues its work. Specific language in the mission, vision, and strategic plan is not necessarily echoed in any potential name change, although these elements should be aligned. Name choices require separate and different considerations, and the task force hopes to have recommendations for membership regarding a potential name change later this year. We remain in active listening mode as these new documents roll out, so please talk to board members at the Combined Sections Meeting February 15-18 or email me at [email protected]. We continue to consider all feedback as we launch eagerly into our next four decades!
AUTHOR: SOWH Vice President Carrie Pagliano, PT, DPT, is chair of the Name Change Task Force. She can be reached at [email protected].