Wendy’s Water Cooler Chat

Hillary JonesACPA News, Water Cooler Chat

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE headshot

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE

Today, we are hosting an area non-profit affiliated with a major university who is evaluating becoming an independent entity. Sound familiar? On September 22, I celebrated my third anniversary as executive director for ACPA. It feels gratifying to look back at what we have accomplished. The visitors remind me of the uncertainty ACPA faced with a new executive director and a change in its long-time relationship with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). We have maintained a positive, professional relationship with UNC. I continue to serve as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthodontics at the UNC School of Dentistry — speaking to residents annually about cleft lip and palate and the role that ACPA plays in ensuring positive outcomes for patients. We are more nimble, have an HR structure that is appropriate for a non-profit of our size and compete to hire the best and brightest.

Our membership and meeting attendance have grown. Through our merger with the Cleft Palate Foundation, we can speak to the funding community with one voice, aim to increase our fundraising and expand family services. We are experiencing a steady increase in revenues through building accountability, seeking new revenue streams and increasing income from existing programs through growth. We updated the ACPA Bylaws and Policies, changing the committee structure to support achievement of ACPA Strategic Plan goals. We increased member engagement through enhanced communications, ACPA Online Community and website refresh. Finally, we are increasing awareness of cleft lip and palate locally and nationally through increased communication and initiatives — for example, an upcoming “Wonder” movie release red-carpet event in Chapel Hill on November 19.

When I arrived at ACPA, I was welcomed and supported by the Board, National Office Team and membership. When I tell my association colleagues about our organization’s mission and patients we serve, values-driven leadership and impassioned membership — they are envious. We are poised for a strong future because of the vision and passion of all the supporters of ACPA — members, donors, patients, families, care teams, corporate partners, leaders, providers and employees. I feel privileged to serve as a steward — supporting and facilitating the vision set forth by leaders on behalf of all constituencies we serve: members, patients and the public.