In May of 2016, I walked into a conference room in Honolulu that was filled with 20 or more unfamiliar faces. It was my first time participating in a HSHA meeting and we were there with our ASHA liaison to create a 3 year strategic plan. I was about to join the board as Neighbor Islands Director. Feeling nervous and shy, I let my passion guide me and contributed my ideas to help create our mission and goals for the next 3 years.
Together, we mapped out a 3 year plan by collaboratively writing our ideas on poster paper then displaying them across the walls of the large conference room. Sharing my ideas became less intimidating as I quickly realized we all had something in common- our motivation to advocate for and promote excellence in the field of speech-language pathology and audiology. When I walked into that room, I became part of a group of inspiring volunteers from all over Hawaii who work together tirelessly on a range of projects to promote and advocate for our profession.
Each year since that day, we checked off items from our list of goals, achieving one after the next. We increased our engagement with neighbor island members by including teleconferencing for easy access to meetings and CEU courses. HSHA board members along with University of Hawaii Communication Sciences Disorders students planned and participated in a Student Advocacy Day where they met with legislatures at the State Capitol. A fearless Legislative Committee with a lot of community support successfully advocated for a Provisional Licence bill for clinical fellows. It passed and goes into effect in 2022. You may also notice our expanded social media presence, our PR Director and Social Media Chair created a PR team and expanded our presence on The Hawaii Speech-Language-Hearing Association Facebook page and created an Instagram page, alohahsha808. In addition we revamped our website offering online registrations to events and online membership applications which is more economical and creates less paper waste. These are just a few of the accomplishments I have witnessed HSHA achieve. I am so proud to be part of this organization.
With all of these goals achieved, it was time to meet again. In July 2019 HSHA had another 3 year strategic planning meeting, we reworked our mission and vision, and established new goals. Already, we are working towards our new goals by offering a full day dysphagia course in November 2019 taught by a leading researcher in the field. HSHA’s Professional Affairs and Public School Caucus chairs formed a team to advocate for more fair pay for our school based SLPs. In addition, HSHA has a team working hard behind the scenes for another successful convention.
None of our accomplishments were achieved without our board, volunteers, or membership. I also want to recognize our past board members who left for us with big shoes to fill, encouraging us to continue doing great things. Importantly, I want to thank each one of you for your support and participation whether that was attending an event, volunteering, renewing your membership, or even something quick such as “liking” or sharing one of our social media posts.
Our current board is a diverse, hard-working, and dynamic mix. We gladly continue growing and expanding our goals to serve our membership and the community. HSHA is looking for new volunteers and I invite you to reach out to me directly or to any board member if you are interested in joining this dedicated and inspiring group!
It is my honor to serve HSHA as President, and I sincerely give thanks to all of those involved in making HSHA an organization that Hawai’i SLPs and AUDs can be proud of. May our passion for this field continue to give us all a voice.
Eva Koenig MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S