President’s Letter

ACPAACPA News, President's Letter

I recently was privileged to attend a symposium, along with our Executive Director Wendy-Jo Toyama, about association management offered by the American Society of Association Executives. It was a unique opportunity to engage with and learn from leaders representing 17 other organizations on a wide range of subjects of common interest. I also appreciated the chance to strengthen the partnership with Wendy-Jo and deepen our shared knowledge of ACPA’s values, desire and interests.

Many of the challenges that ACPA faces are also being confronted by other organizations. We discussed approaches in small groups, where I gained insights from peer association leaders. A major takeaway was that associations differ significantly from other organizations, such as universities and hospitals, in form and function. For example, the “owners, customers and workforce” of an association all come from the same population. This underscores the importance of being crystal clear on what constitutes success. To that end, our Board uses the ACPA 2015-2018 Strategic Plan to stay on course and measure progress, providing consistent leadership orientation.

Wendy-Jo and I derived three key questions about ACPA’s future from the discussions at the symposium:

  • How can we increase member value and facilitate revenue generation that can ultimately fund growth?
  • How can ACPA and CPF work better together to serve patients and families?
  • What capacity needs to be built so that ACPA can develop effective online learning?

The second question is particularly timely given recent discussions between ACPA and CPF regarding closer organizational alignment. Since becoming the Foundation’s executive director in July, Wendy-Jo has put CPF’s organizational model under a microscope and helped formulate measures for stabilizing and strengthening its finances and operations for the long term. Last spring, the CPF Board began work on a new strategic plan and has since approved a development plan and redoubled efforts to increase awareness of cleft lip and palate as well. The ACPA and CPF boards will continue their alignment dialogue in upcoming meetings. Working effectively and efficiently to reach common goals is vital to the success of both organizations.

The symposium also prompted us to consider ACPA’s evolution as an association. In recent years, we have made intentional changes to position us optimally for the future. As leaders, we must constantly look up and forward, asking “What do we need to do next?,” as opposed to gazing in the rearview mirror. I applaud our Board of Directors and membership for taking bold steps to ensure ACPA’s value to members and future sustainability. I am eager to see where the next steps take us.

Your comments and questions are always welcomed.