One Moment in Time
Thursday, June 1st was my first official day as President, NCHFMA. I was on vacation in Williamsburg, VA and started my day with a round of golf on the Blue Heron course at Ford’s Colony Country Club. While I did not have sunny skies, it felt great to be outdoors and for a few hours focusing only on my golf game. The concert I sang in the previous Sunday was behind me – no music to review and with no performance looming no need to avoid caffeine (I could enjoy my morning coffee!). I put my cellphone on mute and ignored the temptation to check my office emails during the round. I was also trying not to think about whether or not our roof was leaking (we awoke the previous Saturday to find water coming through the ceiling in our sunroom from the heavy rains of the night before). After golf, it was off to a winery to taste some of the local VA wines. My husband and I sipped wine and reviewed the next year – personal vacation time, HFMA-related travel, my concert schedule, the kitchen renovation which will start soon (maybe), and the outpatient procedure that means my husband will have to temporarily chauffeur me while I am unable to drive.
Why am I sharing this? Because I want you to know that I understand the importance, and the challenge, of achieving work-life balance. We all have different responsibilities at work and home and balancing those two elements can be challenging. Stepping forward to volunteer is one more element to add into the equation. It is almost impossible to divide your time equally. Every day we have to make choices. How will I use the time I have today? This hour? This 15-minute block of time. Which brings me back to June 1st. The two weeks leading up to that day had been busy with the in-person transition meeting for the NCHFMA Board, a meeting on our kitchen renovation leading to more delays, organizational changes at work, extra rehearsals leading up to the annual America Sings concert – and oh yes, that leaking ceiling! All that before the 8-hour drive to Williamsburg in the rain. But standing on the 1st tee that morning I put everything aside for a few hours to relax and recharge. Just like your day, my day only has 24 hours and I have to choose how to spend them. While it isn’t always easy, I do find time for work, life, and NCHFMA.
NCHFMA is a volunteer organization. We have no paid staff. To be successful we need a broad and diverse group of volunteers. Diversity brings different perspectives and personalities. In addition, the more volunteers and greater diversity, the more we learn from each other and come up with unique ideas. Without a broad base of volunteers, we will not have the necessary members ready to step into leadership roles as our current leaders age out or step away for other reasons.
Research (Yotopoulos, A., n.d.)1 has found three common barriers to volunteering. Not surprisingly, one is a lack of time and volunteer schedules that are inflexible. A second is that people don’t have the information about the volunteer opportunities, or the opportunity is not interesting or lacks purpose. Finally, one out of four people don’t volunteer because no one asked them to!
So how do we overcome those barriers?
Lack of time – Many of you have heard us talk about our goal to increase the number of active volunteers by introducing micro tasks and simplifying our volunteer structure. Last summer I used the analogy of “how do you eat an elephant? – one bite at a time.” What does this mean? Any amount of time you can contribute is important. Over the next year we will focus on engaging members through “micro tasks”. We will achieve this through several approaches: broad recruitment (general call for volunteers) and targeted recruitment (Do you write? We need articles for our newsletter). We will solicit volunteers for virtual as well as-in person events. For some of you a virtual volunteer assignment may provide the flexibility you need to engage with the chapter on your own time and in your own space.
In the next few months, you will see communication via our website and social media with specific opportunities for you to get involved with the Chapter.
Lack of information or the opportunity isn’t interesting – We need to make sure we are matching the skills and experience of our volunteers to the roles available. To do that we need to know the interests and abilities of our volunteers. A choral society I previously belonged to captured the usual demographic information of members and also information on their skills and interests. Using that information, we found someone in our group with graphic design skills to do our posters, someone with technical skills to manage our website, and many other skills beyond their singing talents. It takes more than singers to put on a concert.
No one asked me! – O.K. That’s an easy one. We will ask you! And if you can’t say ‘yes’ to the first opportunity, we understand. Years ago, when I was serving on the Education Council, I was approached about my interest in taking a leadership role, but I deferred because I was working on my EJD in Health Law at the time. I didn’t feel I could give more time to NCHFMA given work, school, and my choral involvement. I promised I would consider getting more involved with the Chapter when I graduated. And when that day came, the request to take on Education Chair followed shortly after. 18 years after joining NCHFMA, and many hours of volunteering, I am the President.
I will be in this role for twelve months. That’s not a long time. The Chapter is still recovering from the disruption of COVID. We must find innovative ways to provide our members access to quality education (relevant, focused on current issues and challenges) with diverse content (content directed at members at different stages in their career or in different finance-related roles). We have to achieve this while being good stewards of the Chapter’s funds and mindful of the financial pressures faced by our members and their employers. None of this can be achieved without a strong volunteer base. We have to increase engagement and retention of our volunteers. That is the key to the Chapter’s long-term success.
Our Chapter’s mission is to be the leading resource for healthcare financial professionals by providing excellence in education, opportunities for development of professional relationships, and effective influence on healthcare policies. When Jason Nelms steps into the President’s role in 2024, I want him and the Presidents that follow to have a strong volunteer base so the Chapter can continue to focus on and deliver on this mission.
As I did when I made my remarks at our March 2023 Annual meeting, I will leave you with the opening line from a favorite song, the Olympic anthem from the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. The title is One Moment in Time . The first line sums up my personal motto and the theme for my year as President.
Each day I live I want to be a day to give the best of me – I’m only one but not alone.
Time and Talent are special gifts. Only you can give these. Will you share them with NCHFMA? No gift is too small.
I look forward to hearing from you.
President NCHFMA 2023-2024
Please email me at [email protected] or any of our leaders listed on the website.
1Yotopoulos, A. (n.d.). Three Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer, and What Can Be Done About It – Stanford Center on Longevity. Stanford Center on Longevity. https://longevity.stanford.edu/three-reasons-why-people-dont-volunteer-and-what-can-be-done-about-it/