My start with HSHA began with the familiar “it’s a small world” meeting when (our amazing Past President) Eva Koenig was a guest at dinner for my travel SLP’s last night in Kauai. Obviously, we hit it off immediately, had a ton in common, and I could not be more impressed with Eva’s experience and drive. She connected me with the Legislative Committee who was working on the Provisional License bill for Clinical Fellows, and all of a sudden, I was introduced into this amazing world of professional volunteers who want to better our profession our clients and our community.
I was excited to become the next Neighbor Islands Director to help connect our members, but even more honored to become Eva’s, President Elect, and voted in at the Fall Membership meeting in 2019. At the next strategic planning meeting, we updated our Mission and Vision statements to align with the aspiring goals we envisioned for our organization. (You can find these on our website!) I was very impressed with the participation and the ideas of these motivated professionals. I knew I was now a part of something sensational.
During the next year, HSHA accomplished some of its most daunting goals, such as an incredibly successful full day dysphagia course taught by a leading researcher in the field. This event brought together 60 SLPs from all over the islands and even the mainland, as well as nurses and students, all eager to learn more and work together. Our legislative committee actively worked to support and advocate for fair pay for our school based SLPs. And our Convention Committee secured fantastic speakers for Early Intervention education.
With a heavy heart, we had to cancel our 2020 Annual Convention due to the pandemic. We had over 200 participants registered, from all areas of E.I., which would have been our largest convention so far. As we hoped to provide this same event next year, we realized that we don’t know what the future holds, and to plan such an event just to cancel again would be devastating. So back to the drawing board we went. Our committees met to brainstorm and get creative in this stressful time of uncertainty. We realized our community needs guidance and support and so several exciting ideas emerged. Who better to provide education and tips and resources than our incredibly talented professionals right here in our community? With expertise in the private sector, early intervention, schools, medical and beyond, we have the ultimate team of diverse, hard-working and committed members that I have ever worked with. If all our members knew the effort and time our volunteers put into this organization, I think you would be equally (if not more) impressed with them than I am.
In the next coming year, we anticipate making up for our cancelled convention with excellent CEU courses, engaging and helpful membership meetings, and an exciting new “unconventional” convention! We will be calling on your expertise too! I highly encourage you to check out our social media page on Facebook and Instagram and surf our incredible new website for all the exciting upcoming events. It is my honor to serve as the next HSHA President and especially during this challenging time, I send my sincerest mahalo to our incredible board and members who make the Hawaii Speech-Language and Hearing Association an organization to be proud of.