In my ASE presidential address, I stated that one of my goals was to facilitate participation of members. I also promised to make the path to leadership more transparent. Although there are probably as many paths as there are leaders, I will share my story in an effort to illuminate my path to the presidency.
Three years ago, some close friends and I discussed the ASE leadership track over a drink and unanimously concluded that one of us should run for president. As the time approached, it was decided that I should go ahead. ASE staff members who had worked closely with me encouraged me to submit an application. Therefore, I asked my fellow ASE members and colleagues at Mayo Clinic for their support, which they gave without hesitation. A fellow ASE member and colleague at the Mayo Clinic nominated me as vice president, and others who had worked with me wrote letters of support. I am passionate about both cardiovascular ultrasound and ASE, so was honored to accept the nomination. I then wrote to the chair of the Nominations Committee accepting the nomination and describing my interest, expertise, and time available, in addition to how I would contribute to achieving the Society’s goals. I had served as a member of numerous committees, task forces and writing groups, and on the ASE Board of Directors; chaired the Guidelines and Standards Committee; and had participated in strategic planning, so I felt confident that I had a strong grasp of the mission and priorities of the organization as well as the needs and desires of its members. I believe these qualities, my enthusiasm for the field, the steadfast support of my institution, and my distinguished service to the organization allowed me to successfully compete for this honor.
Now, how should others find their place in the organization? This is up to your personal skillset, but since ASE depends on its members to advance our mission by serving as volunteers on the committees, councils, task forces, and writing groups that lead the Society and impact the profession, we want to help you find your niche. Volunteers perform a variety of duties, including helping to set standards, develop products, create courses, direct subspecialty activities, advocate for echo on the federal and state level, and more.
To serve on a committee, you must be a current member and complete an electronic application during the application cycle, which opens in November and closes in early January. If you have not previously served on an ASE standing committee or the board, you will need a recommendation letter, preferably from a FASE level member or a senior person in the cardiovascular ultrasound field.
Holding the FASE designation is required for committee chairs and is a prerequisite for some committees, as it ensures a high level of involvement and competence in the field. Not yet a FASE? Service on an ASE committee is also helpful in achieving the credential! It can fulfill one of the two FASE criteria requirements.
Each spring, committee applications are carefully reviewed and appointments made by the ASE president-elect, with input and assistance from ASE staff, the other members of the executive committee, and committee chairs. While we try to give applicants their first choice of committees, we are not always able to do so due to the volume of applicants, the need for specific experience for some committees, and our belief in the importance of supporting diversity in gender, member type, practice setting, location, and subspecialty on our work groups.
Terms are for one year and may be renewed for up to three years, and begin at the conclusion of the annual Scientific Sessions. The most effective committee members are willing to attend one to two face-to-face meetings (one is usually held in conjunction with the ASE annual meeting) and engage in several conference calls a year. Volunteers are not financially supported for their travel to committee meetings.
Task Forces, Writing Groups, and Councils
Task forces are created when the leadership determines there are short-term projects that need special attention outside of the regular committee structure. Task force members are appointed by the ASE president and include individuals with special expertise for the assignment. As an example, writing groups are responsible for developing and authoring guidelines and standards documents. The ASE Guidelines and Standards Committee guides topics, assigns members to the writing groups, and reviews documents in progress. (As an aside, any ASE member can propose a guideline document for consideration by the committee). Taskforces can be started at any time, but most begin as an outgrowth of the board’s strategic planning retreat, held in the spring, and then are appointed with terms beginning in June at the annual Scientific Sessions.
Four ASE Councils, which represent sonographers, pediatricians/congenital heart disease practitioners, perioperative echocardiographers, and vascular imaging specialists, play a prominent role in our organization. Membership on a council, a complimentary member benefit open to all, provides unique opportunities for participation within the Society. Councils offer a forum for members with specific clinical or professional interests to identify and advance professional priorities, and you can join one or more simply by designating areas of interest in your member profile. Each council has its own board, which is a leadership team chosen from among those council members who have indicated interest in participating. The council chairs serve as members of the Board of Directors.