What I Did During My Summer Board Retreat
I've just got to say it - your AHMA has a phenomenal Board and staff! After attending our annual Board retreat in August, I was struck again by the talent, intelligence, good intentions, good humor and fellowship that our Board members and staff bring to everything they do for your AHMA. Your AHMA Board is a group of people just like you who have stepped up to volunteer their time and energy for this holistic medicine movement that we all love.They are participating in moving Holistic Medicine forward toward the same healthy, happy and meaningful future we all wish for those we care about. Keep reading because at the end of this, I'm going to ask you if you too have the time, energy and passion to join us on the Board or on a committee to further this holistic medicine mission in the world.
Our annual Board retreat is somewhere new every year, and this time we gathered just outside our Cleveland headquarters on beautiful Lake Erie. Thanks to the multiple airport trips that our dear staff member Sarah Turell made, we all got to the retreat safe and sound by the late afternoon. I got a chance that day to visit the AHMA office and to greet the rest of the staff, including our wonderfully proficient intern Trent Chavez who was about to go off to further his education at Kent State University. Unfortunately, we just missed connecting with Natalie Talis, who had days earlier completed her interim position as Marketing Manager. As we were landing in Cleveland, she was en route to Washington, D.C., where she will earn her Masters in Public Health at George Washington University. Happily, both Natalie and Trent are staying involved, supporting staff and committees in ad hoc marketing and communications roles. And additionally, Natalie has agreed to lead our efforts to begin a Policy Committee.
During the car ride, Sarah talked about what a wonderful place the AHMA is to work. The staff likes each other, there is friendly and effective collaboration on projects, people are encouraged to shine, and good ideas are welcomed and encouraged. Steve Cadwell is a well respected and appreciated boss and Executive Director. The staff recognizes that their mission is to serve your needs, create ways for you to be in community with your fellow holistic practitioners, to send prospective patients / clients your way and for the AHMA to live up to its mission to Connect, Inform and Transform. It was so good to see that your holistic medicine organization is walking its talk as a holistic place to work. I want to acknowledge Steve's leadership in creating such a good work atmosphere for our staff.
On our first night at the Board retreat, we laughed and talked and caught up with each others' lives. As the sun started to set over the lake, each of us spontaneously stopped talking and just soaked in the beauty of the moment. I felt such a deep appreciation for being with a group of people who understood that this was a moment worth cherishing. We got a mini-concert that night from Claudia Schieve, our newest staff member and troubadour. Her beautiful voice was equal to her beautiful smile – and boy can she play the ukulele!
The next morning, we got down to business with discussions on the direction of the AHMA and how we can help you and all of our members do what you do best in the world. The AHMA had been struggling not that many years ago, which makes it even more wonderful to see how alive and vital it is now. What a difference a few years make!
So much is going on with your AHMA that you may not realize how many moving parts there are now.
There are a number of AHMA-sponsored retreat offerings so that you can do your own inner work and reconnect with yourself and your practice. We have also been creating joint conferences with other holistic/integrative organizations so that you can exercise your mind, meet new people and embrace old friends.
After many months of brainstorming and late evening meetings, the website has been completely updated with new content and resources and a more user-friendly interface. The AHMA Facebook page is extremely active with multiple conversations going on all the time. The Facebook page had over 30,000 views and was shared over 300 times just in the last week. Our LinkedIn page is also alive and well with well over 2,000 members and growing each day. There is now a blog for the writers and thought leaders in our midst as well as a new member forum so that you can talk with each other anytime.
The Practitioner Finder on the website has been revamped and simplified so that the 18,000 people who visit the AHMA website each day can find their way more easily to your practice. Many of our members have also gotten calls or emails recently to let you know that someone on the AHMA staff personally sent someone your way when the prospective patient called the AHMA office looking for someone just like you!
The Practitioner Profile section has also been updated and expanded. You can now add your picture, website, contact information and a description of your practice so that you can attract those patients who will be the best fit for your skills.
Through the AHMA's involvement with the Integrative Medicine Consortium (IMC), you are on the forefront of a larger discussion about the direction of Integrative/Holistic Medicine as a whole. By combining our energies with the 7 other holistic organizations in this consortium, we create momentum toward having a larger voice in governmental decisions and protecting each other from onslaughts to your practice of medicine.
While I'm at it, let me talk about our committee volunteers who give of their time and energy to make our programs work more efficiently. We have volunteer staff who give freely of their time to come in and perform odd jobs and help with projects, such as Sarah Turell’s 16-year-old son, Matt, who volunteers a few hours each week. Our Membership Committee volunteers contact and welcome new AHMA members and answer any questions they might have. They also vet your member benefits to see which ones will be most helpful and valuable to you. Our Programming Committee volunteers are doing the work of getting our retreats and conferences set up to run smoothly and have value to your life and practice. Our Governance Committee volunteers are helping to vet potential new Board members and respond to any issues that might arise for our current Board members. Our new Advisory Council is a group of VIP volunteers who feel passionately about helping the cause of holistic medicine. Our Finance Committee volunteers keep an eye on the books and help advise us on financial and tax issues. Our Fundraising Committee is involved in finding those who are happy to back their love of holistic medicine up with pledges for donations. We use those funds to fuel these worthy projects and for scholarships to those who need financial help to attend our events. The new Policy Committee will look at the various issues in the world of holistic medicine to decide which ones the AHMA will endorse. We are also about to re-engage our Past President's Council to make best use of the combined experience, wisdom and dedication of our Past Presidents.
So now comes the part where I ask you...Do you have the energy, time, commitment and passion to join your AHMA Board or one of the committees that is creating all the forward motion you just read about here? If so, then we want to hear from you! Join the AHMA Board and be the future of Holistic Medicine that we all wish to see.