Get Ready for a Transformative Convention ASHA returns to Denver, a city where the professions changed forever—and where the legacy of change continues. From the President
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From the President  |   August 01, 2015
Get Ready for a Transformative Convention
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
Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / From the President
From the President   |   August 01, 2015
Get Ready for a Transformative Convention
The ASHA Leader, August 2015, Vol. 20, 4-6. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.20082015.4
The ASHA Leader, August 2015, Vol. 20, 4-6. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.20082015.4
Oh, the places you’ll go.
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So … get on your way!
—Dr. Seuss
In a little more than three months, many of us will be in Denver for the 2015 ASHA Convention. Maybe I’m a convention geek, but I get excited each time the August issue of the Leader hits my mailbox. Convention preview!
My mind is full of questions. Who will be the speaker at the opening session? What will be new and interesting on the program? Who will be honored at the awards ceremony? What hotels are available? Who will be there that I haven’t seen in a few years? What new textbooks or materials will I find in the exhibit hall? What new information will I take home that will change the way I do things? What will happen that will turn out to be really important … to me … to my students … to my patients … to our professions? This year we will be in Denver for the first time since 1968. If you know history, you know that the 1960s marked a time of turbulence and protest in the United States, marked by riots, war protests and assassinations. In 1968 alone, two major political figures, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, were assassinated.
In the midst of that turbulence, ASHA members came to Denver to meet, to share information, to do all those things that one does at an ASHA convention. At the time, ASHA was not involved in social issues, preferring to stay focused on clinical issues and research in communication sciences and disorders. That was about to change. Although I doubt that members attending the convention expected it, or perhaps even fully realized it as it was happening, Denver 1968 marked the start of a new movement that significantly changed ASHA’s perspectives on its role in social issues.

Although I doubt that members attending the convention expected it, or perhaps even fully realized it as it was happening, Denver 1968 marked the start of a new movement that significantly changed ASHA’s perspectives on its role in social issues.

It all started when ASHA President John Irwin turned the time for his presidential address over to two members, Orlando Taylor and John Michel, to debate the role of professional associations in issues of social conflict and social responsibility. That debate and the actions it triggered were the beginning of a movement that shaped ASHA’s future: as an association that would lead the way in taking a stance on social issues, including social diversity, inclusion and increasing minority membership.
If you have any doubt that what happened in Denver in 1968 did not stay in Denver, take a look at ASHA’s Strategic Pathway, with three of the seven strategic objectives addressing diversity, international engagement and cultural competency; or ASHA’s Envisioned Future document, again including diversity, culturally competent practice and international engagement. Recent national events show us that civil rights struggles continue, and so should efforts to address them. Likewise, the seeds that were sown in Denver in 1968 must continue to shape our association’s goals and practices.
This fall, 47 years later, ASHA will be back in Denver with the theme “Changing Minds. Changing Lives. Leading the Way.” What will happen this year to bring this theme to life? I can’t predict what it will be for you, but I can tell you that the program this year looks fabulous.
In addition to the expected activities, this year’s program will include “Trailblazer” sessions. In keeping with our convention theme, sessions designated as Trailblazers will address significant change that has had a deep impact on our professions and/or will discuss ideas and results that are particularly forward-thinking, innovative or transformational with respect to the professions. Also equipping you to lead the way in making transformational changes will be keynote speaker Kelly McGonigal, who draws on brain science to show how changing your mindset can motivate you.
Speaking of transformational change, Annie Glenn, wife of former Sen. John Glenn, is someone who had a severe stutter. She credits speech-language pathologists for her ability to speak fluently and has been a national advocate for individuals with communication disorders. Every year since 1987, ASHA has presented the Annie Glenn Award to an individual who demonstrates her spirit. Join us this year as we honor Annie in a celebration of her contributions.
I hope to see you in Denver this year. I can’t promise another 1968 watershed event, but I can promise an opportunity to make new connections, renew friendships, and learn things that have the potential to change your life or the lives of your patients, clients or students. With apologies to Dr. Seuss, I’d like to revise his quote just a little:
Oh, the places you’ll go.
Today is your day!
Denver is waiting,
So … register today!
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FROM THIS ISSUE
August 2015
Volume 20, Issue 8