Developing Leaders: Be a Part of the 2011 Emerging Leaders Program
By Stephanie Yamkovenko
Are you a student who feels called to leadership in the profession? Are you a new practitioner who is ready to be more than just a clinician and want to make a difference in your profession and Association?
AOTA’s Emerging Leaders Development Program gives you the tools and training to become a strong leader within occupational therapy to help the profession achieve the goals of the Centennial Vision. Selected participants will receive leadership training, ongoing mentorship, and participation in current service opportunities that mach each participant’s own leadership goals.
The program was developed in 2009, and the first group of emerging leaders is finishing their year-long mentorship program. Read more about the history of the program and the need for developing new practitioners into leaders. The first Emerging Leaders program was a success, and AOTA is continuing the program in 2011.
“We want your perspective,” said Ginny Stoffel, PhD, OT, BCMH, FAOTA. “You represent a generation that we want to get fully engaged and keep engaged over a long period.”
The second program begins in January 2011, and AOTA is accepting applications until November 2. AOTA invites OT and OTA students in their last year of their professional preparation or new practitioners with 5 or fewer years of experience to apply for the program.
“This program is specifically focused on preparing young leaders for service in AOTA,” says Timothy Wolf, OTD, MSCI, OTR/L. “The lessons and focus of the program help the participants develop a skill set that will apply to any setting in which they live and work.”
Those who are selected to participate in the program will receive funded 2-day leadership training at AOTA in Bethesda, Maryland, followed by a formal mentorship period of 12 months during which they will complete a service learning project.
“The matching process with mentors will be different this year,” says Stoffel. “It will be more tailored and personalized because we want to use a more careful and connected process.”
The program is designed for current members of AOTA who believe they will stay involved in AOTA leadership and volunteer opportunities. Candidates need to have shown an initial dedication to the profession and service at the start of their careers. Read the letter of invitation and application for more details on the application process.
Stoffel urges interested students and new practitioners to consider whether this is the best time for them to apply for the program. “If you’re a student now, do not feel pressured to apply this year. Really think about when is the best time for you, and if you need to, you can wait and apply for the program later,” says Stoffel. AOTA plans to continue the program for several years, so before applying, interested applicants should know that the program requires a substantial time commitment and may be more worthwhile to practitioners with some work experience.
Stephanie Yamkovenko is AOTA’s staff writer.