5 Reasons to Run for the PAEA Board of Directors

“Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.” Anonymous

The PAEA Board of Directors has three positions it is seeking to fill beginning January 1, 2022: President Elect, Treasurer, and Director at Large. If you’ve been considering running for the board but are still on the fence, here are some reasons — and candid thoughts from current board members — on why board service is an invaluable experience.

1. It is an opportunity to learn about what it takes to run an association — and you might even discover a few things you didn’t know about PA education. Along with gleaning valuable insights from your fellow board members, you will be presented with numerous leadership development opportunities.

“As a new board member, there is a lot to learn,” said Shalon Buchs, who has been on the board for only six months. “It’s not that the work or expectations are surprising — the learning curve is just steep. That said, the culture on the board is one that really promotes inquiry; this has made the ability to learn much easier.”

“It has been a wonderful way to serve and contribute to PA education, to ‘give back,’ so to speak, to a profession that has been very good to me,” said current Immediate Past President Howard Straker, who served as Secretary for five years before becoming President Elect. “I am grateful that this experience has exercised, stretched, and grown my strategic thinking. It has helped me focus on high-level thinking and pay attention to details.”

2. You will play an influential role in helping to guide the work of the Association. You will also have the opportunity to play a broader role in shaping national education policy, which affects students and programs across the country. And, as an added bonus, your visibility as a board member will raise both your personal profile as well as the profile of your program.

Carl Garrubba, now in his eighth and final year on the board, had been on the Finance Committee when he was approached by a board member asking him to consider running for Treasurer. “I didn’t think I knew enough to be an effective board member but was assured by the current board member that I had the expertise and knowledge and would bring an interesting perspective. I took a shot and was elected, and it has been an amazing experience.”

3.  Serving on the Board of Directors is the networking opportunity of a lifetime. As a member of the board, you will be able to make valuable professional connections, gaining access to thought-leaders and those at the forefront of other health professions. Plus, your behind-the-scenes look at what the board is working on will give you a heads-up on emerging issues.

4.  You will experience a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction from the collective work of the board. When you see all of your hard work come to fruition and the progress made by PAEA each year, it will be both personally and professionally rewarding.

Straker said the contributions he is most proud of from his time as President are selecting and onboarding PAEA’s new CEO Mary Jo Bondy and increasing PAEA’s effort and commitment to diversity. “The diversity work includes placing diversity boldly as part of the strategic plan, pushing for a diversity accreditation standard, creating a position for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, and our townhalls last year — separately giving students and faculty a forum to discuss racial injustice on both a national and personal level.”

He also offered advice for those interested in running for President: “First, reflect on your motivation and your support — why you want to run. Is it to work with a team on strategic issues? Is it to make the organization operate your way? Is it for the prestige of your CV? The PAEA board is a consensus-driven board,” noted Straker. “As a leading member of this collaborative group, you will have the ability to be influential, but just realize that things may not always go your way.” 

5. You will meet exceptional colleagues from around the country and develop great friendships. Being involved as part of the Board of Directors team provides a unique bonding experience.

As his term as Treasurer winds down, Garrubba reflects on the experience. “I will miss my fabulous colleagues who have become my friends and the rich and vital discussions that move PAEA and PA education into its bright and exciting future. I have made so many connections and long-lasting friendships while being on the board — nothing could ever replace that.”

Still not sure?

“Just do it! The rewards outweigh the commitment, and you do not have to have finance experience to be a good PAEA Treasurer,” said Garrubba. “Being the Treasurer is not about being an accountant or bookkeeper or doing taxes for the Association; it’s about financial strategy and leading the board in financial discussions while safeguarding the assets and revenue of the Association.”

Whether you’re considering Treasurer, President Elect, or Director at Large, Buchs had similar advice: “Take the leap! Reach out to any of the current board members with questions about the process. They’d be happy to talk with you. Our board thrives on diverse perspectives and encourages a variety of individuals to consider service to the board.”