Wendy’s Water Cooler Chat

ACPAACPA News, Water Cooler Chat

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE headshot

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE

I recently returned from hosting a family reunion in Charlotte, NC. My grandmother was the oldest daughter of 12 siblings. The gathering included 32 of her parents’ descendants from nine states — ranging in age from three to 84. One of my personal values is family, and the opportunity to bring together my relatives filled me with joy. My own adult children joined my husband, my mother, my sister’s family and me — these opportunities are all too rare. We had time to share stories, discuss trials and tribulations, loss and celebrations. There were two other families celebrating reunions at the same hotel. One family included 200 family members and was celebrating its 48th reunion. The other family was celebrating its 51st. All of which underscores the power of gathering together those who share a common bond.

This reminds me of my very first phone interview for my position with ACPA. When describing the organization, the Annual Meeting was reported to be like a “family reunion.” I nodded my head, but will admit I was skeptical. All organizations probably believe that their meeting is special and engenders the feeling of closeness that family reunions do. It wasn’t until I was onsite at ACPA’s Annual Meeting that I experienced the camaraderie.

Nearly one third of our membership attends ACPA’s Annual Meeting. This is extraordinary. When I reached out to my association colleagues, they all agreed that our ratio of overall attendee members to our membership was well above the norm. For example, at the ADA we had nearly 9,000 dentists attend with a membership of more than 167,000 dentists. You get the picture.

As we prepare for our 75th anniversary and ACPA’s Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, I look forward to bringing together the professional family focused on providing care to those affected by cleft lip and palate and craniofacial anomalies.