Valuing One Another
The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery is truly a remarkable organization. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the remarkable dedication and commitment of our members and our Academy staff.
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. People will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou
The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery is truly a remarkable organization. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the remarkable dedication and commitment of our members and our Academy staff. I am so very proud of how our members and our Academy staff continue to work collaboratively, innovatively, and unselfishly.
Our Academy staff is 66 strong, and they continue to work tirelessly to support the Academy’s mission. Like the rest of us, they have had to pivot many times over the past year and a half, often on a moment’s notice. They support work in advocacy, education, business of medicine, research, and quality in practice; coordinate our meetings; support our global initiatives; maintain our access to cutting-edge technology and innovation; advance our communications; and support our 60+ committees. These valued team members are absolutely critical. Without them, we would not be able to realize our Core Purpose, which is to engage our members and help them achieve excellence and provide high-quality, evidence-informed, and equitable ear, nose, and throat care through professional and public education, research, and health policy advocacy.
During the pandemic our staff took on the personality and professionalism of our members, recognizing our physicians’ needs to be able to take the best care of their patients. Working from home in a new situation for most, they adopted an “all-hands-on-deck,” “on-call” mentality, working seven days a week throughout the height of the pandemic to provide the most up-to-date information available to our members. Their underlying desire to contribute, each in their own way, helped the entire team to get through this unprecedented time in our history. Each person’s work, no matter what their job or title, ultimately leads to healing people, taking care of one another, and saving lives. Nothing could be more valuable.
I am sure you will recall the story of the janitor who, when asked by President John F. Kennedy what his role at NASA was, replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!” His wonderful answer speaks volumes about NASA’s culture. Each of us clearly understands how our roles ladder up to an overarching core purpose. As a result, we ought to feel proud and valued.
My goal with this column is to let you know that you and your work are extremely valuable, that your contributions are powerful and meaningful, and that each day you help the Academy deliver on its Core Purpose. I also hope you’ll help others feel the same way. Below are some ways you can do that.
Regularly tell our Academy staff members and colleagues how much you appreciate them. Listen intently. Thank them for their outstanding commitment. Congratulate them on years of service. Thank them when you next see them. Tell them how much you enjoy working with them. Make sure they feel valued.
Each and every one of you is important, and I truly value you. It is an honor to work with you and to serve as your President. It has been a truly remarkable year and I feel truly privileged and honored to have had the opportunity to serve. I know we have accomplished some pretty remarkable work. We could only have done this because of each and every one of you.
I cannot wait to see you in Los Angeles in October. When I do, I will be sure to thank you for your commitment and your effort.
Please plan to arrive early and join me for a special Presidents’ Reception on Saturday, October 2, 6:00 – 8:00 pm (PT), at Xbox Plaza. This special event, commemorating the AAO-HNS/F 125th anniversary, is open to all attendees. It will be an unforgettable occasion marking our long, rich history of specialty unity with current and past presidents of the Academy, as well as those of all specialty societies participating in our meeting programming this year. Kick off your 2021 Annual Meeting experience and connect with colleagues from coast to coast and around the globe—something that we have all missed throughout the pandemic.