Someone Needs to Do Something Your professional work already makes you a leader. But volunteering for ASHA broadens your reach. From the President
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From the President  |   June 01, 2015
Someone Needs to Do Something
Author Notes
  • Judith L. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, is associate professor and former director of the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Kentucky. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 10, Issues in Higher Education; and 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication. judith.page@uky.edu
    Judith L. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, is associate professor and former director of the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Kentucky. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 10, Issues in Higher Education; and 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication. judith.page@uky.edu×
Article Information
ASHA News & Member Stories / From the President
From the President   |   June 01, 2015
Someone Needs to Do Something
The ASHA Leader, June 2015, Vol. 20, 4-5. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.20062015.4
The ASHA Leader, June 2015, Vol. 20, 4-5. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.20062015.4
“Nothing is going to change, unless someone does something soon.”—Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
How many times have you heard somebody say, “Someone should do something about that”? How many times have you heard yourself say, “ASHA needs to do something about that”?
I find it’s much easier to assign to someone else the task of “doing something about something” than to accept the responsibility myself, especially when the task feels large or daunting. Learning how to work within the system (government, practice patterns, reimbursement, laws and regulations, bureaucracy) can feel daunting. Figuring out how to make needed changes to the system or to respond when the system requires you to change can feel even more daunting. This is where belonging to ASHA can make a difference.
ASHA’s vision statement (“Making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all”), makes it clear that we value effective communication across the lifespan. Achieving that vision requires support for the activities of audiologists and speech-language pathologists in all service-delivery settings. Achieving that requires someone who will “do something.”
Who should that someone be? Often in an organization like ASHA, our first thought is that it should be the “leaders”—the president, the vice presidents, committee/board chairs, other leaders. The reality is that each of us has the capability to be a leader—to be that “someone” who is able to do “something.” Leadership is not about position, gender, race or background. Rather, it is about skills and qualities. It is about passion. It is about the ability to get others to follow. Good leaders are people who can be trusted—people who inspire and motivate, who are consistent, courageous, creative, responsible and accountable.

Leadership is not about position, gender, race or background. Rather, it is about skills and qualities. It is about passion. It is about the ability to get others to follow.

Are you a leader? I would guess that the answer is “yes,” even if you don’t know it. According to John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
Look at those action words: “learn,” “do,” “become.” That’s what we’re all about: helping our clients/patients/students learn … do … become. If you help a child realize her academic potential by providing an AAC system for communication—congratulations, you’re a leader.
If you help restore basic communication skills to an adult with aphasia or brain injury, if you coordinate an interprofessional team providing services for a preschool child, if you develop and share a new intervention strategy, if you publish original research, if you collaborate with a kindergarten teacher on a pre-literacy activity, if you mentor a student interested in a career in audiology, if you start a journal group in your work setting, if you teach or supervise in an educational program, if you manage a private practice in audiology, if you help plan a continuing education activity, if you write letters or call a legislator advocating for a change in policy—congratulations, you, too, are a leader.
To see leadership in action, check out the featured articles written by leaders in the area of hearing loss in this issue. In line with ASHA’s vision of effective communication across the lifespan, audiologists Janet Koehnke and Jennifer Lister look at hearing loss associated with normal aging, Kathy Dowd writes about the importance of hearing screening in older adults, ASHA Leader writer/editor Haley Blum interviews 2015 Convention Research Symposium speaker Frank Lin about the link between dementia and hearing loss, and in the online “App-titude” column, Washington University biomedical engineer Dennis Barbour discusses apps under development for early hearing testing and cochlear implant rehab. Then there’s ASHA staff member and audiologist Anne Oyler, who discusses use of FM systems in the classroom.
ASHA has more than its share of leaders. That’s what makes this association so great. Volunteer leaders and ASHA staff work closely to identify and accomplish the association’s work. The partnership between members who volunteer their time and talent and ASHA’s exceptional staff is the key to ASHA’s accomplishments. Each year hundreds of ASHA members serve on boards, councils, and standing and ad hoc committees. Members of these groups help to maintain the association’s ongoing activities, determine priorities for future actions, develop needed resources, and advocate on behalf of our professions and the people we serve.
I invite you to use your leadership skills in a broader context. Volunteer in your state association. Apply for ASHA’s Leadership Development Program or the Minority Student Leadership Program. Participate in advocacy activities at the state or national level (check out ASHA’s advocacy page, for suggestions). Get involved at ASHA. Be someone who “does something.”
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June 2015
Volume 20, Issue 6