DANIEL H. ANNA, PhD, CIH, CSP, is president of AIHA and senior industrial hygienist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. He can be reached at (240) 228-1980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Stable Approach to Change
BY DANIEL H. ANNA, AIHA PRESIDENT
In December, AIHA Executive Director Peter O’Neil informed the Board of Directors that he had accepted a new position as executive vice president and CEO at ASIS International, an association of security professionals. Throughout his 16-year career at AIHA, including the last seven as executive director, Peter has distinguished himself as a dynamic leader, an innovative thinker, a tireless worker, a persuasive team player, and, for many of us, a trusted colleague and friend. AIHA is a better association as a result of Peter’s hard work and dedicated efforts; he leaves AIHA with a strong, cohesive Board and a talented, high performing staff. On behalf of the Board, I wish Peter the very best in his new position, and thank him for his service to AIHA. Peter has often said, and has always demonstrated, that change presents opportunity. In wishing him farewell, we pay him no higher tribute than to approach this transition with similar optimism. Over the past several years, we have developed the vision for our future and established a program of work to help us realize that vision. New leadership will bring different ideas, perspectives, and potential pathways to achieve that long-term vision. The Board, in partnership with staff, has launched a national search for AIHA’s next executive director, and we are confident that we will find the right leader to build on the progress our profession has made throughout AIHA’s 77-year history.
While changes in leadership can create some apprehension, AIHA is well prepared to manage this transition.
GUIDANCE THROUGH TRANSITION Once the Board learned of Peter’s resignation, our immediate obligation was to name an interim executive director—someone who would ensure continued progress on AIHA’s ambitious program of work. Although a wide variety of options were considered, the best choice was already part of the AIHA staff: Nancy Green. Nancy, who joined AIHA in October as executive vice president/deputy executive director, has distinguished herself in the association world as a talented and creative leader committed to delivering high-quality programs and services for members. Before coming to AIHA, Nancy worked for an executive recruiting firm, and she has 25 years’ experience as an association executive with groups such as the National Association for Gifted Children, The Fund to Promote Awareness of Occupational Therapy, and the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. She, like Peter, is a Certified Association Executive and a fellow of the American Society of Association Executives. The Board is confident that Nancy will offer valuable guidance as we search for AIHA’s next leader, support staff and volunteers through the coming transition, and maintain AIHA’s reputation for excellence in industrial hygiene education. Nancy will assume the position of interim executive director on Feb. 12, which will also be Peter’s last day at AIHA. Please feel free to reach out to either of them via e-mail to email@example.com (before Feb. 12) and firstname.lastname@example.org. CONTINUED PROGRESS While changes in leadership can create some apprehension, AIHA is well prepared to manage this transition. The Board has a highly productive working relationship with staff, governed by a strategic vision for the profession. Managing transitions is a normal part of our business. Each year we incorporate the perspectives of new Board members following the AIHA election and integrate new volunteers into a variety of projects. We manage these types of changes with an underlying commitment to continuity and stability. That commitment is a key reason why AIHA has maintained strong financial reserves and is considered a premier organization within the association community. Of course, the most significant reason for AIHA’s success is the dedication of our volunteers. Whoever is selected as AIHA’s next executive director will find inspiration in our volunteers’ commitment to the profession and in the noble work that our members perform for workers everywhere. The Board pledges to honor that work by finding the right person to help us achieve our vision of eradicating workplace illness.