July 2019 AHIMA CSA Leadership Symposium

The beauty of “our association” was clear and very apparent to us, Taryn, Deloris, Stephanie and Ann, when we attended the 2019 Chapter State Association (CSA) Leadership Symposium July 12-13, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois this month. It was a privilege to represent Kansas and share our successes struggles with the other state leaders and come away with new ideas and possibilities.  Each year AHIMA hosts a training to support the elected officials of each state association. Fresh Ideas and tried-and-true methods are exchanged to provide focus and energy to CSA’s as they lay out their strategic plans and agendas for the coming year for their members. Tools and resources are provided by AHIMA to help deliver those messages to the membership base.  

The focus of this year’s symposium was moving AHIMA forward to a state of innovation.  The educational sessions taught attendees about the importance and process of transformational leadership.  Successful leaders follow the motto “See It, Own It, Solve It, and Do It”.  AHIMA laid out their “Transformation Plan” and Wylecia Wiggs Harris, AHIMA CEO, and Valerie Watzlaf, AHIMA President shared AHIMAs new Vision, Mission and Strategy to achieve the future successes for OUR association. Wylicia shared her passion about our profession and her commitment to make AHIMA front and center stage to the world for health information. She asked everyone to join her, be dedicated to AHIMA’s vision and mission, and be the kind of leaders that move our profession forward. Transformational leaders persevere when times are difficult and view setbacks as “set-ups” for an opportunity to grow.     

The topics of training ranged from AHIMA’s strategy for the HIM future, development of great leaders, embracing changes in technology, strengthen communication skills, cybersecurity threats, advocacy, and the recent conversations surrounding our current AHIMA election. Controversy surrounded the actions of the AHIMA Nominating Committee in this year’s unopposed position for AHIMA President. Sessions were held to discuss the election process in-depth and allow for conversations to flow freely.  AHIMA heard the membership and is taking steps to prevent uncontested elections in the future.  Despite the controversy, the KS Delegates came away hopeful and encouraged. What a privilege it is to vote for our leadership and have a say in the direction of your national association. We hope you exercised your rights whichever way you approached this election.

There was a breakout session titled “Managing Conflict and Conflict Resolution”.  The session identified what conflict is and how to manage conflict when it arises.  Conflict does not always equate to negativity but can be an opportunity to create a positive change.   Skills needed to assist with conflict resolution include empathy, assertiveness, active listening, and creative problem solving. The main speaker talked about being a 2020+ leader and the competencies that will be necessary to embrace the five generations of professionals you may or already have encountered in your workplace and association activities. She reflected on the history of AHIMA and the opportunities that even our cofounder, Grace Whiting Myers could not have envisioned when she delivered the first message at the First Annual Session in 1929. We were challenged to think about the possibilities created by change and the consequences of inaction, and to make choices as leaders for the greater good of the organization and the industry.

There were sessions for office coordinators to learn best practices when it comes to managing state associations.  This includes attending sessions on leadership, social media tools and finance. Areas where changes deliver new insight every year.  Topics of discussion focused on gaining knowledge on being good stewards of the associations money to lead board officials and members down the path of transformation and sustainability.  Executive Directors and Office Coordinators discussed best practices and lessons learned from other component state associations without reinventing the wheel.

As busy professionals in a vocation that changes at warp speed, we have all been at one time or another disconnected and apathetic to the energy, perseverance and commitment it takes to lead our state and national associations. Now is the time to turn our attention in the direction we want our profession to move towards and model those actions in KHIMA.  We want to encourage you to volunteer and contribute to KHIMA in your actions and words, be it small or large, take a part and own it.  Look for ways to volunteer, speak out, and step up when needed or called upon to promote your expertise as well as our profession.

As Grace Whiting Myers said many years ago, and as we discussed at this year’s Leadership Meeting, “The group brings together all the excellence of many individuals, raises it to a high plane, and gives it a large outlook embracing great possibilities.”  Coming together in Chicago was an opportunity to learn from many knowledgeable individuals and embrace change and great possibilities.  Together we will create the opportunities and celebrate the wins of our colleagues and remain united through the growing pains of an ever-changing industry. Leaders preserve and inspire others to trust, understand and rise to a higher plane.

Grace Whiting Myers laid the cornerstone of the HIM profession back in 1929 but the future belongs to us, the AHIMA/KHIMA members, to keep building and strengthening the “house of HIM”. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to make KHIMA and the HIM profession even better than we have been for the past 70+ years.

With sincere appreciation, 
Stephanie Costello, KHIMA Treasurer
Taryn Schraad, KHIMA President
Deloris Farthing, KHIMA President-Elect
Ann Nowlin, KHIMA CSA Office Coordinator