Welcome, Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association Members! It is an honor to serve as your 2021-2022 President!
As the Vice President of Communication two years ago, months before the COVID-19 outbreak and closures, I wrote an article in the MSHA Link about the importance of visualizing success. I explained how amazed I was when watching successful athletes as they embarked on their feats. Somewhere in their training, I wrote, these athletes had learned the importance of visualization, a process of being able to create a mental image of what they wanted to happen in the next moment. It all came down to having a vision. The conclusion was that being a successful athlete or leader involved being able to translate an idea into a plan of success. Essentially, you had to believe in an idea before you could implement it.
About six months after writing that article, COVID-19 happened and the vision that we had all held for MSHA in the fall of 2019 had to change in the spring of 2020. My athletic visualization example had gone wild. It was like the seasoned baseball player who contemplated hitting a home run…only to be hit in the head with the pitcher’s ball instead. It was like a well-prepared runner who could see himself crossing the finish line…only to trip and fall during the final leg of the race. What is the lesson? Essentially, no matter how much we prepare, plan and visualize our ideas, things happen. But, this arduous lesson does not mean the vision should end.
And for MSHA, it didn’t. In the spring of 2020, when COVID-19’s unexpected emergence resulted in a slew of shutdowns and in-person restrictions, we began to reimagine MSHA. We began to form new concepts and to think creatively about how we would confront this new challenge. Out of our new ideas came new virtual initiatives that helped members to continue to grow professionally and to meet the changing demands brought on by the pandemic.
MSHA’s 2022 Convention theme, MSHA Reimagined, is a challenge to continue to regroup, retool, reconnect, rethink, reset, rework, redo, renew, and so on. MSHA is reimagining its vision to help membership continue to grow and thrive during these challenging times. The goal is to hold our in-person 63rd MSHA Meeting and Annual Convention April 7-10, 2022 at the Tan-Tara Resort while continuing to explore the opportunities and benefits of virtual CE offerings and membership engagement over the next year.
As 2021-2022 President, I am excited to lead this remarkable association of professionals. MSHA represents 4,391 audiologists and speech-language pathologists in the state of Missouri, but just about 20 percent of that number are active MSHA members. For the 80 percent of you who have not taken the step to pay MSHA dues, I strongly encourage you to do so. Once you join or rejoin, get ready to advocate and work. Make sure to join the engagement networks and committees that MSHA offers. Chairpersons have started utilizing virtual meeting options. We are waiting for you! Your involvement is an opportunity to voice your concerns, share your research, get information, and make important connections.
The executive board is reworking MSHA’s strategic plan to include robust initiatives such as diversity, continuing education, and advocacy. A new task force is exploring the possibility of participating in an occupational licensure compact which allows professionals to practice in multiple states without having to obtain additional state licenses. The Convention Planning Team is working to provide opportunities for professionals across the state to present and to volunteer at our in-person convention. To go back to the sports analogy, the baseball player is back at the plate and the runner is back in the race. They are reenvisioning their next moves.
So how are we reimagining success as an association of speech and hearing professionals? First, we are recommitting ourselves by becoming active MSHA members. Next, we are rethinking and reworking our plans by sharing ideas and collaborating virtually with other professionals in MSHA’s engagement networks. We are also refreshing our continuing education offerings by exploring more virtual CE opportunities for members. Finally, we are reconnecting and getting reenergized at the 2022 MSHA Convention as we continue to reaffirm and revitalize MSHA’s vision to advance evidence-based speech, language, and hearing services without barriers.
With each one of us believing in this common vision, MSHA can continue its mission to empower members to connect and advocate for the advancement of our professions in order to ensure access to the best quality services.
Thank you for all you do as speech and hearing professionals. Please know that even in these tough times, you are having an incredible impact on the lives of others throughout the state of Missouri!
Jennifer M. Stevenson, MHS, CCC-SLP, EdS
MSHA President 2021-2022