Friday, March 25, 2016

Interim Report from Your Director of Chapter Development


Good morning,

Finally we are moving into Spring.  Spring is my favorite time of year.  Mother Earth slowly emerges from her winter’s hibernation.  The days are getting longer.  The sun’s rays are shining brighter.  Tender shoots of new growth appear.  I hope you are enjoying the season.

This week I am finishing up my first 12 weeks as HLAA’s Director of Chapter Development.  It has been a wild and wonderful 90 days.  I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your warm words of welcome, support and encouragement.  I also want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you.  And finally, I want to thank you for letting me know when I can serve you better.

It has been a whirlwind of activity: connecting with chapter leaders virtually and in person, asking questions, learning HLAA’s history and your individual chapter histories, responding to requests for assistance, and just generally trying to make myself available to you.  In addition to general on-boarding and orientation activity, I have been:

·         Assisting Bethesda office staff with the collection of the Chapter Update Forms so vital to keeping current information about your chapter online to the public.

·         Firming up the educational and training workshops for the  2016 State/Chapter Development Room. I am VERY excited about what we have in store for you at Convention.

·         Messaging you on a regular basis using the various broadcast communication vehicles at my disposal:  the HLAA Official Leaders List Yahoo Group, Hearing Loss Magazine This Week in Bethesda (affectionately known as TWIB), this State and Chapter Development Blog, and the various e-blasts. 

·         Creating new website materials in response to questions from  chapter leaders: Conflict of Interest Policy, Guidelines for Statewide Chapter Coordinators, and information on the new IRS Form 990 Filing Requirements.

·         Responding to requests for technical assistance

With your indulgence I would like to share a few of my initial impressions and future plans:

·         Chapters are the centerpiece of the Hearing Loss Association of America organizational structure. Everything I do must revolve around supporting them and strengthening them.  The entire Bethesda office recognizes the critical role chapters play in HLAA’s future.

·         I need to continue to build trust and continuity with you.  I am the third person to serve in Chapter Development in as many years.  Turnover is tough on trust and continuity.   I want you to know that I will respond to your requests by close of the next business day.  If I tell you I will do something then I will do it.

·         Turnover is not always bad. The people who were in this position before me accomplished great things. They left behind a rich legacy, for which I am grateful.  I do not have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, I can pick up the threads they left behind, apply my own vision, and weave them into a rich tapestry of chapter development and support.  The foundation is there, waiting to be built upon.

·         I am hearing that many of you are weary and burned-out.  You want help in recruiting chapter leaders and members, so you don’t have to choose between watching a chapter die and doing it all on your own. Chapter revitalization and volunteer recruitment are very important to you. 

·         You want technical assistance on things such as required annual HLAA filings, building awareness of chapter activities, required IRS annual filings.

·         You want tools and information you can use to run a strong chapter and form new chapters.  You want leadership training and support. I very much want to offer leadership training that will help you attract other leaders, volunteers, funders, and community partnerships.  Today’s digital technology makes information sharing easier than it has ever been. I intend to make the most of it.

·         After Convention I would like to begin making site visits to supplement virtual reality.  I have to be strategic about site visits, which means working with leaders from more than one chapter when onsite.  If you have a state association, perhaps a regional or state conference could be organized where I could spend time working with all chapters at once. If you don’t have a formal state association chapters could still band together to collaborate for a site visit. Site visits are expensive and the budget is not unlimited.  Chapter assistance with transportation, lodging, and meal expenses would allow me to get around to more places. Please email me with your ideas and let’s see what we can come up with.

·         You want complete information and guidance on the Unified Membership Program.  I promise you that will happen this year.

I am energized by the opportunities within these challenges.  I recognize I am but one person and that I have my work cut out for me.  However, I operate from the belief that no one person can do it alone and that, together, we can do it.  Together Everyone Achieves More.  T.E.A.M.

Thank you again for welcoming me so warmly into your world and I look forward to achieving great things together!

All the best,

Valerie Stafford-Mallis
vstafford-mallis@hearingloss.org

Director of Chapter Development