Delivering Value to Local Sections
Editor’s note: this is the fifth post in a series on AIHA’s strategic plan. The previous posts are “Where in the World Are We with Our Strategic Plan?,” “Tending Our Content,” “Maximizing Value for Members,” “AIHA as Coalition-builder,” and “Partnering to Generate Content.” The 2016–2018 AIHA Strategic Plan is available on the AIHA website (PDF).
Our next installment in our series of posts on AIHA’s current strategic plan focuses on strategic focus area #5: strengthening the AIHA local section network to help us collectively increase our impact and further our mission. In this area, our goals are to provide diverse support for the needs of local sections, build on existing collaborative relationships that local sections have developed, help struggling local sections deliver value to their members, and create new opportunities for AIHA to partner at the local level.
Examples of recent successes in this area include the following:
- AIHA has amended the charter for the Local Sections Council to better align and clarify the current roles and responsibilities of local sections, council officers, regional representatives, and AIHA national (including Board Liaisons).
- AIHA has drafted a paper that summarizes 10-plus years of feedback from local sections and identifies a path forward including mutual expectations of local sections vis-à-vis national. The paper proposes recommendations to achieve a more effective local section network with proactive local section member support and engagement; access to high-quality education and professional development opportunities; leadership development; effective and open lines of communication; and maximal utilization of national resources and staff. We’ve enhanced communications to all individuals on local section rosters through face-to-face local sections meetings; Catalyst, AIHA’s new online community; Quick Takes, the monthly e-newsletter for AIHA volunteers; establishing a virtual section; and conducting a local section summit. We’ve also updated the local sections portion of the AIHA website.
- AIHA’s Government Relations Director Mark Ames and I have visited several local sections over the past year to inform local members about issues that affect AIHA at the national level.
- Through our new MOU with the American Society of Safety Professionals (formerly ASSE), we have expanded collaboration with ASSP local chapters where it makes sense to do so.
- AIHA successfully launched the #IAmIH campaign, which reminds members about the great work we do as industrial hygienists, gives the public a behind-the-scenes look at industrial hygiene, and inspires future generations to learn more about getting into the profession. Many of the outreach tools developed for the #IAmIH campaign are effective for sharing at the local level.
- We’ve directly supported local sections by instituting regular visits from AIHA Board members, senior national staff, and the regional representatives.
- The Student Local Section Council held a meeting that identified plans to improve communication and engagement with AIHA national. Students have an online community via Catalyst, and the student local section council president was invited to give a presentation at the May 2018 meeting of AIHA’s Board of Directors.
What’s ahead in 2018? Here are a few examples:
- We will hold two face-to-face town hall meetings—one to discuss and agree on a plan to launch our new virtual local section, and the other to review survey feedback on how to address longstanding concerns.
- We will offer our new Premier Partner organizational membership, which is designed to help local sections recruit new leaders and offer premier pricing on AIHA national products, services, and education such as webinars for increased cost savings.
- We expect to help build the new Women in IH community at the local level.
- We will continue to ally with other organizations locally.
- AIHA national will match financial support for local sections that need specific lobbying support on a particular piece of legislation affecting their state.
- We will provide a virtual platform via the Catalyst online community to all local sections (NOTE: the full benefits of Catalyst are extended to AIHA national members only).
- We will continue to promote our Distinguished Lecturers series, which brings dynamic subject matter experts to local section events. Local sections can now request up to $400 in funding to help offset the travel costs associated with using a distinguished lecturer.
The next and final installment of our series on the AIHA Strategic Plan will discuss focus area #6: aligning support for all stages of career development. As always, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me.