October 24, 2018 / Deborah Nelson

Help AIHA Find New Leaders

I’ve been fortunate to serve in many leadership roles within AIHA, both in my local section and in AIHA national. I’ve been amazed by the talent and dedication of AIHA members at all levels of our association. Especially during my time on the AIHA Board of Directors, I saw just how many people are committed to AIHA’s success.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re one of those people. I deeply appreciate your commitment. And now I have something more to ask of you.

The AIHA Nominating Committee is currently seeking nominations of individuals for Board service. This year, we’ve created online nomination forms for the Board positions that will be contested in next year’s AIHA elections: vice-president, treasurer-elect, and director. Please read about the positions, review the nomination forms, and nominate someone you feel would make a great leader for AIHA. Now is the time to act: the deadline to submit nominations is Nov. 1.

Finding new leaders to replace those whose time on the Board is coming to an end is critical to AIHA’s success. Just as we must replenish the ranks of industrial hygienists as more of us reach retirement age, so must we also fill the shoes of our organization’s departing leaders.

Here are some of the things the Nominating Committee is looking for in potential candidates:

  • active participation in AIHA’s technical committees, volunteer groups, or special interest groups
  • involvement in a local section as an elected leader
  • speaking experience at AIHce or other key events
  • demonstrated leadership at work—for example, service as a moderator or speaker at AIHA and other industry events; publications; cutting-edge research; teaching experience; or involvement in mentoring young professionals

I know from firsthand experience that the ranks of AIHA volunteers are filled with people who would make great leaders at the national level. Yet each year, the Nominating Committee struggles to identify individuals to stand for election. The problem is certainly not a lack of qualified potential candidates; rather, it’s likely that many of these individuals just need some validation that they have what it takes to lead an organization like AIHA.

For many who have served on the Board, that validation comes from their peers. Back in 2007, I conducted a leadership survey of past presidents. Almost all of them told me that they had been asked by someone they knew to consider Board service. That was part of my story, too: among the many factors I considered when I was deciding whether to run for the Board was a phone call from a trusted and well-respected colleague who expressed confidence in me.

I know that you already give a lot of time and effort on behalf of AIHA. Please consider it an aspect of your service to encourage a worthy peer to run for office. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to set someone on the path toward Board leadership.

Deborah Nelson

Deborah Nelson is past president of AIHA and chair of the AIHA Nominating Committee.


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