Passing the Torch

A reason for succession planning


As a premier state association, it is vital to build and maintain organizational strength by recruiting and retaining members who could provide dynamic leadership into the future.


There was a lack of engagement of early career professionals (ECP) in the statewide Professional Association, despite the fact that more senior members opted for retirement or became less active in leadership roles. The opportunity existed to integrate fresh thinking and energy into the fabric of the association, thereby attracting new members.


I felt it important to understand the needs of early career professionals and how the association may meet them. My vision was to find ways to engage these young professionals in the association, harness their ideas and enthusiasm on committees, and groom them for leadership positions in the association.


Over a twelve-month period, as Past-President,

  • Provided leadership to an Early Career Professional Task Force to assess their needs through focus groups and survey instruments.

  • Compiled data and created a formal presentation to the Board of Directors on the data and recommendations to meet the needs of ECPs.

  • Won Board approval to create an Early Career Professional Committee to carry out the recommendations of the task force, as well as establish mechanisms to recruit, engage, and retain these new members in the association.

  • Gained support of Board of Directors to encourage all committee chairs to seek out and have at least one early career professional as a member of each committee.

Lasting Impact:

As the Early Career Professional Committee enters its third year, it has

  • actively recruited new members for the association,

  • established an award given at the annual convention to honor a distinguished ECP member who has already made a significant contribution to the professional field in both research and practice.

  • created a mentoring program to match ECPs with more senior members to enhance professional development experience.