Building Our Network: The Journey of Texas AADE
Many years ago, my husband and I bought a home that was built in the 1950’s. The house was solid, but outdated. I was anxious to make it into my dream home right away. At the same time, I was paralyzed by the enormity of my dream home vision. Sadly, I did not have a magic wand, but I did have parents who were willing to help. Together we tackled one project after another - painting walls, changing light fixtures, building decks, installing new doors and windows, etc. I remember one day after laying the last brick paver in our front patio, my stepdad took a step back, put his arm around me and said, “When you finish a job, don’t forget to stand back and admire your work”.
As AADE members of Texas, it is time to admire our work and remember the collective steps in the process of developing our State Coordinating Body (CB) and Local Networking Groups (LNGs). Recently our CB mentor and first CB Chair in Texas, PJ Pugh, along with the help of our current chair, Barbara Kocurek, took some time to detail our history since 2010 when AADE announced the re-structuring of the state and local chapters. I wanted to share this history with our membership to put our current functionality into a historical context and to remind of us of the power of our collective efforts.
We have many members who recall the days of the local AADE chapters. We also have newer members who are not familiar with the chapter system. Prior to 2011, there were local chapters (North Texas, South Texas, Bluebonnet – Austin, and Alamo – San Antonio). AADE members paid annual dues for their national AADE membership and separate dues to their local chapter. Each chapter had their own by-laws and organizational structure and hosted regular meetings often with the help of local industry sponsors. Some chapters published membership directories and/or had their own websites. As PJ noted, “local chapters had a long history of friendship and partnership which speaks well for the commitment and passion of diabetes educators”.
In 2010, My AADE Network was introduced with full access for all members in 2011. The dues process was streamlined as annual AADE membership dues were paid to the national organization and portion of these dues were given to the CB to support state and LNG activities. My AADE Network provided an exclusive social networking site where members could connect with other members across the nation as well as the state and local areas. Members had full access to AADE’s Communities of Interest, LNG/State discussion groups and LNG/State programming and announcements. PJ stated in her report, “the goal for the new membership model was to connect AADE members from across their respective state through the formation of a state Coordinating Body and locally by reorganizing existing state chapters into Local Networking Groups”.
Change can be exciting, especially when it promises enhanced communication and efficient processes. Change can also be daunting – similar to staring at your aging house and not knowing where to begin. It was our challenge to move forward with the new model. Fortunately, Texas has its fair share of committed and passionate diabetes educators who banded together to form a transition team. PJ Pugh stepped forward to lead the transition team. Several AADE members from multiple regions of our vast state volunteered their time to share their ideas and visions. They met by phone and in person starting in April 2011 and by November 2011 had a formal CB policy, the first Texas Coordinating Body and several LNG leaders in place.
The 2012 TX CB included the following:
- CB Chair, PJ Pugh
- Co- Chair, Elisa Herrera
- Web Admin, Ardis Reed
- Legislative Coordinator, Iris Sanchez
- Education Chair, Susan Zatopek
- Membership Chair, Jennifer Naples
- Finance Chair, Ginny Ives
- Additional team members included Rhonda Phillips representing Greater East TX and Molly Rodriguez representing Southeast TX
After creating some solid structure, the CB wasted no time in serving the membership by planning and organizing a statewide educational conference. With Susan Zatopek spearheading this project, our Texas leaders were able to offer our first state conference in the Spring of 2013. This educational event is now a tradition that serves to provide quality continuing education and networking for diabetes educators across the state.
Over the past seven years, our CB has remained vibrant and engaged. We have had many CB and LNG leaders with impressive visions and the ability to artfully orchestrate one project at a time to improve our experience as diabetes educators and AADE members. It is important to reflect on the steps it took to develop our current operational systems. As a long-time home owner, I now know that the “dream home” involves constant revision, dedicated team work and single steps that add up to miles. Our journey as Texas AADE members was powered by engaged and passionate members and our future will be similarly determined.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step.” Lao Tzu
Sandi Spicer-Moore, RD, LD, CDE, BC-ADM
Central Texas Bluebonnet LNG Leader