Monday, February 28, 2011

Becoming Component Secretary as a New Professional

Since my first Physical Therapy interview at New York University, being an active member in the American Physical Therapy Association has been an interest of mine.  During the interview is when I first meet Dr. Marilyn Moffat. I was fortunate to have her as a source of knowledge and guidance during my graduate school experience and my continued develop as a new professional. As a student, I regularly attended district and Chapter meetings increasing my interest in the governance process. While I was a student, I was selected to be a student Delegate at New York’s Delegate Assembly which is a smaller version of the APTA House of Delegates (HOD).  This allowed me to attain firsthand experience on how our Chapter makes decisions on important issues.

Our New York Chapter has made it easier for students to get involved at the district and Chapter levels. We recently started a new pilot program called the “Student Interns,” which allows one student from each PT school to attend a Chapter BOD meeting where they are paired with a district director to help mentor them.

My active involvement as a student served to increase my involvement as a New Professional (NP). After graduation, I was asked by my district to attend their Executive committee board meetings, where I got to see more of the deliberating processes. After a year, a vacancy in the position of Vice Chair at the Greater New York District of the NYPTA became available and I was elected to position of Vice Chair of our district. During the same time I submitted my name to our Leadership Committee where I got named to that committee. That same year I also was elected as a NY delegate to the HOD where I got to meet a lot of our influential Chapter delegates and gained more valuable experience.

Last summer our NY Chapter Secretary got elected as Vice President which left a vacancy at that position. Shortly after, I got a call from the NY Chapter President and he was acquiring about my interest in serving on the Executive Committee. With excitement I spoke to a few members of my District to get their insight about me serving as our Secretary. One member whom I valued their opinion informed me I was too young and did not have enough experience to do a good job at the Secretary position. They explained the normal progression was to serve as a district delegate or as a Committee Chair first to get a better understanding of the Board and its structure then persuade an Executive Committee (EC) position. 

After a few lengthy discussions with the President and stating my concerns he ensured me I would do a great job and I was only filling the position for one year. With some hesitation and nervousness I accepted the position not fully understanding what it would entail considering I have never been to a BOD meeting let along serving on the Executive Committee. One of the reasons the president wanted me to become part of the EC was what I could bring to Chapter. Our current President wanted our Chapter to take a new direction and one way to reach this was to get younger members with a fresh perspective. One thing as a NP I can bring to the Chapter is a younger thought and new approach to help bring positive change to our Chapter. Our EC is open to everyone’s’ opinions which allows for discussion because at the end of the day we all want what is best for the Chapter.

Fortunately for me I knew that past Secretary and she continues to mentor me along with the other EC members. This past year has been a little nerve racking yet continues to thrill me as time progress and I gain enough confidence and knowledge. So much so I am running for reelection for the position of Secretary this upcoming April.

Looking back on this past year, I have been very fortunate to have accomplished so much professionally already and hope I can continue to mentor other NPs. I think being involved with a big Chapter like NY offers many advantages because of our size as well as the many opportunities for leadership and involvement. My advice to other NPs would be try to get involved at much as they can commit to; first starting at the district level, then at the Chapter level, and finally at the National level. I was fortunately to bypass the normal progression and go straight to the EC. I am only thankful for the opportunities I have been given so far. As NPs we are the future of the profession and it’s up to us to make the difference.

   Jeremy Crow, DPT, SCS, NYPTA Secretary, NY Delegate to APTA House of Delegates

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