Submitted by: Sharon Duessel, 2014-2015 ASCLS-MO President
“You will never know until you try”. When my term started I did not know if I could lead this organization to success. I have never been a leader, preferring to work alone. Delegation has never been one of my strengths. I am not a supervisor or manager and I do not have the desire to become one. The absence of these qualities was an obstacle I would have to overcome if I wanted to succeed.
As a younger professional my goals may not be the same as the veteran members. In previous years, growing our membership has been a focus. I agree that increasing our membership is very important, but I wanted to focus efforts on promoting the profession. Informing the public about our field is a lab professional’s responsibility. ASCLS Missouris’ leadership has spent this year gaining access to more of the public than ever as our reach now even extends to eighth graders! We have been submitting articles on lab science to local papers, advocating at blood drives, and presenting to high school classes and at Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) events. The effects of this initiative may not be immediate or quantifiable, but we are making a difference. Even if we do not bring more professionals into the field, we have increased public awareness.
As part of the 25-40 age group, I have been in the field for less than ten years. I have realized how hard it can be to acclimate to a new position. We have amazing mentors within ASCLS-Missouri but we have traditionally lacked a structured succession or mentorship plan. We have started planning for the future by distributing USB drives to leadership to record their progress. This will help future leaders by having access to imparted knowledge. This plan will give the next members ideas on how to achieve their position specific goals. We have also started guiding our newer members into positions that will cultivate the knowledge they need to hold executive office in the future.
I combined the last two goals I assigned to this year’s leadership: membership and fundraising. I am excited to announce that ASCLS has increased membership across the nation by 1,000 members! Much of this increase has been due to the new educational and lab manager packages. You can find information on these packages on the ASCLS website (www.ascls.org). I highly recommend that you look into this as a way to increase membership within your place of employment. For fundraising efforts we had a successful 50-50 raffle at our spring meeting and we are planning a trivia event with more details to come at a later date.
As my term comes to an end, I think back to when I first took office. I had goals in mind, but as a first time president I was not sure I could accomplish them. We have gained new members, raised money, and continued our long-time tradition of offering quality continuing education to our members. We have strategic plans in progress to ensure the future of the organization and have brought new members with new ideas into the ASCLS-Missouri leadership.
This year has been full of lessons, but the two that will help me in the future the most are to 1) always set deadlines and 2) delegate tasks to those whose strengths match what is needed. Various commitments can overwhelm us and unless there is a clear deadline tasks can fall off of our radar. Delegation is an art! Knowing the strengths of each member on your team will
help you assign tasks effectively. The success of this year is due to the hard work of the 2014-2015 leadership team and all ASCLS-Missouri members. Thank you all for everything you do! I feel confident in the direction we are heading and feel proud to have served as your President.
See you again in 2016-2017!