AARC Leaders Sharpen Skills at Boot Camp

 Published: May 16, 2018

By: Heather Willden


leadership boot camp group photo
AARC Leadership Boot Camp, Class of 2018

Being a state affiliate officer takes a lot of passion, dedication, and time. The AARC wants to make sure that state leaders are positioned for success. To help states reach their goals, the AARC hosts a Leadership Boot Camp each year. This year, 30 leaders representing 22 different state societies joined AARC staff and volunteers for a weekend of training, sharing, and brainstorming.

Sharing and collaborating

“The annual boot camp is such a unique opportunity for our state leaders and the AARC staff,” said Shawna Strickland, PhD, RRT, FAARC, AARC associate executive director of member services. “Just like the name suggests, we spent this weekend working together through various interactive training sessions.”

The weekend kicked off with a meet-and-greet reception. AARC President Brian K. Walsh, PhD, RRT, FAARC, challenged attendees to ask questions and share their insights, and the group did not disappoint. They spent the rest of the weekend discussing ways to strengthen our affiliates and help our members.

The AARC team brought in Michele Packard-Milam, CAE from Packard Business Strategies, LLC to facilitate the Saturday morning session. Packard-Milam, respected association consultant, led the group through a jam-packed presentation that covered everything from board orientation considerations to decision-making strategies to strategic planning.

Feedback about Packard-Milam’s presentation included:

Trisha Miller, BS, RRT, RPFT, RCP: Very useful and she kept your attention!!

Diana Merendino, DPT, RRT-NPS, RPFT, FAARC: Loved her interaction with the audience.

David Northrop, MBA, RRT: Keep bringing Michele back… she is amazing!

Attendees spent most of their time attending roundtable discussions focused on important affiliate issues. The Boot Camp concluded with a review of financial considerations, a dedicated time to create action plans, and an open Q&A session.

Roundtable Facilitators and topics included:

  • Communicating Your Message with Heather Willden, AARC Communications Coordinator
  • Understanding Bylaws & Other Governance Issues with Tim Myers, MBA, RRT, RRT-NPS, FAARC, AARC Chief Business Officer
  • Getting the Most from Your Delegates with Asha Desai, AARC HOD Liaison/Project Manager
  • Engaging Students with Mandy De Vries, RRT, & Tom Lamphere, BS, RRT, RRT-ACCS, FAARC, AARC Volunteers
  • Working with the AARC Board & House of Delegates with Brian K. Walsh, PhD, RRT, FAARC, AARC President
Reps from SD, IA, and NE with President Walsh at Leadership Boot Camp
From L to R: Kim Kuiper, BS, RRT, South Dakota President; Lisa Fuchs, MHA, RRT, CTTS, Nebraska President-Elect; Cindy Duncan, RR, Iowa President; and Brian K. Walsh, PhD, RRT, FAARC, AARC President.

“I am blown away by the resources, opportunities, and value the AARC offers our state chapter and hope to utilize these tools to take us from good to great,” said South Dakota Society for Respiratory President Kimberly Kuiper, BS, RRT.

Mutually beneficial

For AARC staff, one of the highlights is having the opportunity to interact with state leaders and learn more about their goals and obstacles.

“Being able to discuss ways that we can help states be successful while hearing feedback to improve our resources and training with state leaders is priceless,” said Amanda Feil, membership development manager. “We enjoyed meeting and sharing in the great discussions. In fact, AARC staff members learned a great deal from our boot campers. The experiences gained were absolutely mutual.”

The attendees also enjoyed learning and sharing information with each other. This year’s Boot Camp format offered attendees plenty of time to interact with each other and discuss ideas.

scenes from leadership boot camp
More scenes from Leadership Boot Camp

Beyond Boot Camp

The learning and sharing don’t end now that attendees are home. Boot Campers have their own AARConnect community where they can continue the discussion by asking questions and sharing ideas. AARC staff will follow up with boot campers throughout the year to make sure they have the resources they need to meet their goals.

Email newsroom@aarc.org with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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