It was an honor to join my ACC leadership peers and colleagues in Washington, DC for the College’s Leadership Forum, which was kicked off Friday morning by ACC President Kim Allan Williams, MD, FACC. The annual event sets out to clarify the purpose, charge and expectation of being a member leader within the College and arms participants with practical tools to use to be a more effective leader in transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health.
Key portions of the meeting were dedicated to helping ACC leaders understand ACC’s governance transformation underway. We heard talks clarifying why the College has decided to take on such a monumental task and shift in thinking, as well as expounding upon the specifics of organizational structure and decision-making. In morning sessions, I explained that as a College, we have evolved: our environment has changed; our membership has changed; and our activities have changed. The governance structure that served us so well for many years was built for a much smaller organization with more limited scope. As such, we need to be governed by a broad-based, strategic, competency driven structure that makes sense in this new landscape.
We were fortunate to have William Zoghbi, MD, MACC, a past president of the ACC, along with governance expert and consultant Jamie Orlikoff, on hand to walk through the set of 11 principles that guide the College’s governance transformation. They also clarified that while our old ways of doing things were out of compliance with current governance best practices, there are tremendous opportunities gained by realigning our governance structure and charting a new course for the future.
Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC, vice president of the ACC, gave a fantastic overview of the value of ACC membership, citing – among many value-added areas – the importance of member section involvement and the tremendous weight of the College’s NCDR. Friday morning’s breakout sessions oriented the next class of ACC leaders, like the College’s incoming Trustees and Presidential team, incoming Governor-Elects, Leadership Academy members, training directors, Fellows in Training, cardiovascular team members, and incoming section chairs.
The afternoon breakout sessions were particularly engaging. Led by some of ACC’s top leaders, the sessions delved deeper into topics including: leading with a strategic focus, setting vision and direction, managing change, leveraging business acumen for effective governance, having organizational awareness and stewardship, and serving as a health care delivery expert. This year we integrated tech-driven audience participation, both during the morning’s governance-focused leadership panel and at the culmination of Friday’s sessions in our first-ever “unconference” led by BOG Chair Robert A. Shor, MD, FACC. The unconference was designed as a forum for truly open dialogue without a preset agenda. Attendees used mobile devices to submit and vote on topics to discuss as a group – a sort-of crowd-sourcing of discussion topics. It was a fascinating way to wrap up the day’s sessions.
We were honored to welcome veteran DC-area NBC News4 anchorman, Jim Vance, as our evening guest speaker. Vance spoke about teamwork, respect and mentoring, along with the importance of persistence in the face of adversity, and his devotion to family.
One of the highlights of the weekend was after Friday morning’s breakout sessions when many of us gathered at Heart House for a Wear Red Day group photo to support women’s heart health (see the photo below). We packed the lobby and represented ACC leadership well, decked out in red blazers, tuxedo vests, dresses, scarves, ties and bowties, sweaters, and even a bowler’s hat and red pair of Converse Chuck Taylor shoes!
Held in conjunction with Leadership Forum, ACC’s BOG, led by Shor, gathered for their winter meeting on Saturday. They connected for updates on accomplishments in the states and issues affecting ACC Chapters, as well as to continue discussion and education around ACC’s new governance transformation. Shor presented attendees with the annual “State of the States” report, a document housing updates from each of the College’s domestic chapters citing accomplishments and opportunities within the construct of ACC’s Strategic Plan. Additionally, he presented Chapter Recognition Awards to ACC’s North Carolina, Michigan, Alabama, Texas and New Jersey Chapters for their outstanding accomplishments in 2015.
A great time was had by all this weekend and I am honored to be a part of this tremendous group of leaders in cardiology.