Partners in Leading the Professions to New Heights Perhaps it was my recent cross-country flight to attend a Board of Directors meeting as ASHA’s new president, but when ASHA Executive Director Arlene Pietranton and I began to discuss our roles and shared goals for this year, we saw the analogy of the ASHA president and executive director as ... From the President
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From the President  |   March 01, 2012
Partners in Leading the Professions to New Heights
Author Notes
  • Arlene Pietranton, PhD, CAE, ASHA executive director, co-authored this column.
    Arlene Pietranton, PhD, CAE, ASHA executive director, co-authored this column.×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / From the President
From the President   |   March 01, 2012
Partners in Leading the Professions to New Heights
The ASHA Leader, March 2012, Vol. 17, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.17032012.10
The ASHA Leader, March 2012, Vol. 17, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.17032012.10
Perhaps it was my recent cross-country flight to attend a Board of Directors meeting as ASHA’s new president, but when ASHA Executive Director Arlene Pietranton and I began to discuss our roles and shared goals for this year, we saw the analogy of the ASHA president and executive director as being co-pilots on distinct paths to the same destination—so I invited her to co-author this column. It is no secret that the airline industry has been experiencing ongoing reassessment and re-allocation of resources, resulting in a closer examination of policies, practices, and values. In a similar way, it is important for ASHA to consider carefully and continually the quality and efficiency of our services and their value to payers and recipients of the services provided.
ASHA exists to enhance the professional lives of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists, and through us, the lives of individuals with communication disorders. The cultivation of partnerships with and among one another effectively connects those we serve to the association. The governance of an organization like ASHA is a journey that members and staff embark on together. Admittedly, we all may experience unexpected turbulence and instances of frustration along the way. ASHA’s size alone at times can make it seem less nimble than we may desire. However, it is our belief that the scope and breadth of the association are also strengths and represent many interests under a shared mission, vision, and code of ethics that serve as our compass. For our association to reach new heights, partnering is essential among:
  • Audiology and speech-language pathology.

  • Members, associates, and students—and the Board of Directors.

  • Volunteer leaders and staff.

  • ASHA and the public.

  • ASHA and other organizations.

Audiology and speech-language pathology. The professions of speech-language pathology and audiology are rooted in a common history, are integrally related, and require a dynamic interplay among speech, language, and hearing. Like all good partners, we share opportunities and challenges from which we derive a mutual responsibility to each other. ASHA is fully committed to this link and strives to be the association of choice for professionals in human communication sciences and disorders and to show evidence of this relationship in ASHA’s programs, products, and services.
Members, associates, and students—and the Board of Directors. The duty of decision-making is a cornerstone of professional associations, entrusted to those elected to the organization’s governing body—in ASHA’s case, the Board of Directors. The board takes that sacred trust very seriously and benefits from members’ insights and expressed needs when making decisions. Like the airline industry, our fees, standards, and practices have changed over the years, but one constant has been our commitment to providing first-class services to you, our members.
Volunteer leaders and staff. Key to the work of the association is the enduring partnership between members who volunteer their time and talent and work side by side with ASHA’s dedicated staff. Through the work of dozens of standing committees, boards and councils, special interest groups, and numerous ad hoc committees, these partners help chart the future of our discipline, develop resources, and advocate on behalf of our professions and individuals with communication disorders. Each year nearly 1,000 members serve in such roles.
ASHA and the public. The ASHA Code of Ethics states that we have a duty to the public as representatives of and service providers for individuals with communication disorders. Thus, maintaining a partnership with communities is inherent to both our vision and our mission and is a critical professional responsibility.
ASHA and other professional organizations. ASHA works closely with other professional organizations to advance mutual public policy objectives, co-sponsor professional development and public awareness events, and exchange information and resources. These collaborations help us solidify support for our special interests, establish close ties with students, seek the wisdom of those we serve, and promote the importance and quality of our services.
As a large organization, ASHA, like a 747, is not immune to sudden changes in the weather. There may be times you wish you had a different seat, knew a shortcut, or could apply the rules with more flexibility. Your questions and suggestions are necessary to get this plane off the ground. Be prepared to unpack your knowledge, skills, and creativity at each stop along the way—collegial partnerships are necessary for an honest and open exchange of ideas.
Come fly with us.
ASHA Vision and Mission Statements

ASHA vision statement: Making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.

ASHA mission statement: Empowering and supporting speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists by:

  • Advocating on behalf of people with communication and related disorders.

  • Advancing communication science.

  • Promoting effective human communication.

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March 2012
Volume 17, Issue 3