ACHA Vice President and Coordinator, Annual Meeting 2013 Leadership Program
ACHA members gather each year at the ACHA national meeting to learn new skills, wrestle with the important issues, reconnect with old friends, and meet new colleagues. Despite coming at the end of a hectic academic year, we also find time to organize and plan much of the work for the coming year of ACHA’s affiliates, sections, committee, coalitions, and task forces. Through our efforts as volunteer leaders the work of the association is done.
Every ACHA member is an ACHA leader, whether it’s sitting on the board, participating in a coalition, or simply joining in the discussion at the national or a regional meeting. Becoming more involved, however, can seem a daunting task. It may be overwhelming to think about adding more to an already busy professional lives, it may seem that all the volunteer roles are filled with leaders already, or it just may seem hard to know where to start.
Last year in Phoenix, a group of new and veteran leaders were asked to share their wisdom about what they had learned about being an ACHA volunteer leader. Together they created a short list of advice that may help new leaders looking to get started or veteran leaders looking for new opportunities.
- Mentorship: Be and find a mentor. You are a resource to others and you have something to offer.
- Take the plunge: Push past your reluctance, take a risk and get involved. Don’t be afraid to volunteer. When you come in a room, sit by someone you don’t know and introduce yourself. Go to committee and coalition meetings that interest you. No matter what your position at your health service you can be a volunteer leader
- Know your resources: Collaborate, collaborate, and collaborate. Our strength is as a multidisciplinary organization. Ask others for help and advice. Delegate and reach out to others – share the workload. Get to know the ACHA national office staff.
- Make sure you’re having fun. Maintain a good balance and know your limits. Share your passion and it comes back 10-fold.
Whether Boston is your first, second, tenth, or thirtieth meeting, I want to encourage each of you to think about your role as a leader and how you may want to get and stay involved. Together we can achieve our common goal of improving the health of college students across the nation.