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Karen Edwards Blogger

Women in Leadership Lead!

Posted by Karen Edwards | August 22, 2017

Welcome to the August 2017 ÖWLI blog. We hope your summer has been fantastic and that you are now getting excited for the Össur Women's Leadership Conference Sept. 28-30. FYI, we have updated our agenda to reflect that CEU's for this conference are available for CPO, CP, CO, CPOA, and Prosthetic-Orthotic Techs.

This month, we welcome back guest blogger Marjorie Albohm. Marjorie is Director of Össur Academy for OA&I and is responsible for education, clinical research and Fellowships in the Americas. She is a highly regarded speaker, lecturing on a range of musculoskeletal and sports medicine-related topics. Marjorie is a certified athletic trainer and past President of the National Athletic Trainers Association. She has served on the medical staff for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the 1991 World Gymnastics Championships, the 1988 Track and Field Olympic Trials, the 1987 Pan American Games, and the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid.

In her blog, Marjorie shares insights from the athletic training and sports medicine fields, and inspires us to keep working toward true equality in our profession.

Women In Leadership Lead! (W.I.L.L.)

Having started my career as one of the first female certified athletic trainers in the country, at a time when Title IX had just passed and was being implemented, I've been keenly focused on the evolution of women's equality and their roles as leaders throughout my career. We can say with assurance that "we've come a long way" in all of our practice settings and business pursuits. But the danger is that can lead to complacency - feeling or being made to feel that our "job is done". Nothing is further from the truth!

Back to my roots as an athletic trainer. Our professional society, the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), of which I was proud to serve as President, has over 45,000 members and 52% are women! Something to definitely celebrate since the organization was 100% male until the mid-1970's. But in the majority of practice settings where athletic trainers are employed, the decision making positions are still held by men and the salary discrepancies are significant. The NATA is very proud of its "Women's Committee" which made great strides and accomplished much, but was disbanded in 1996 because "its job was done" (over 20 years ago!).

Women in Leadership Lead (W.I.L.L.) was recently created within the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine (AMSSM), the largest society for non-surgeon sports medicine physicians in the country with over 4500 members and growing. It was created by the recently inducted President Dr. Katherine Dec, who is passionate about this subject because she knows the job is NOT done! The AMSSM has had outstanding women leaders in its history – in roles as President, Foundation President, medical directors for Para-Olympic Games and for the London Olympic Games. But women physicians don't feel like they have a voice in negotiating salaries and contracts (always earning less than their male counterparts), being told they're too emotional in their passionate pursuit of what they think is right, and being told they're too "aggressive" in their reactions and not viewed as "assertive" (a trait we all know is valued in the male population). Having primarily male bosses in all of their practice settings, they are committed to identifying and addressing key issues that are of concern to their women members, and to creating a forum, including men, to have open, productive discussions about these and other issues.

I was honored to be invited to the first meeting of W.I.L.L. in May. I was inspired by the conversation and commitment to address the issues of concern that women physicians have and by the commitment to develop a specific action plan to address those issues with the overlying goal of identifying issues that keep women from fully achieving all that they're capable of to truly achieve full equality.

Dr. Cindy Chang, AMSSM Past President and Medical Director for the USA teams at the London Olympic Games recently shared this with the W.I.L.L. group. She told us, "Recently on national TV a male commentator called Kamala Harris a female senator from CA 'hysterical' as she was questioning Jeff Sessions. I loved the response from a female commentator who wanted him to define hysteria and why wasn't a male senator who basically did the same thing (challenged Jeff Sessions, interrupted his long winded folksy answers) and basically she did this very calmly and smiled the whole time as he dug himself further into a hole. She was awesome! She ended with something like 'oh I understand now, she is a woman and that's why you called her hysterical because that is reserved for females never males'."

Dr. Chang went on to say, "Now at the ripe age of almost 54, I have learned so many things to teach our younger female members that I failed to do. Like it IS important to put EVERYTHING in your CV. That it IS important to interview for other positions every once in a while to get exposure, to show current employers that others value you and to learn from the interviews." Great insight and advice!

Dr. Dec recently received approval for an Instructional Course at next year's AMSSM annual meeting focusing on topics including mentoring female AMSSM members, how to retain female membership in the AMSSM, how to communicate with male colleagues in a meeting so we're "heard", effective salary negotiating, and professional communication for men and women.
These women leaders clearly know their job is NOT done!

W.I.L.L. inspired me to re-visit current women's issues with former leaders of the NATA Women's Committee. They all believed that there are still so many issues that need to be addressed, and, in fact, had been thinking the same way about forming a new group. We're now starting conversations with NATA leadership to initiate that.

Ossur Women's Leadership Initiative (OWLI) by its very existence has declared that the job is NOT done, and has gained interest and momentum both externally and internally within Ossur.
Congratulations to all for making a difference! And Thank You!

Yes, we've made great strides and should be very proud of that. But so much more needs to be done. I challenge you to lead, even in the smallest way, to address the issues that keep women from becoming all that we can be. And to follow the examples of other women leaders to inspire you!

Thank you, Marjorie, for your inspiring and encouraging words! We will keep working for true equality until the "job" is truly done!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:Reserve a spot on your schedule for the following upcoming ÖWLI events…

Sept. 28-30, 2017: Össur Women's Leadership Conference, Orlando, FL. Don't miss your chance to attend the ONLY conference for women in O&P! If you came last year, you know you want to come again! If you missed last year's conference, NOW is your chance to register for this unique, professional conference designed exclusively for women in O&P. This year's schedule includes a workshop on building your personal brand, an extended panel discussion, multiple networking opportunities as well as some great entertainment. FYI, the Owners/Directors/Managers session will be held prior to the start of the conference the evening of Wed. 9/27 with a dinner, so make your plans accordingly. We are filling up fast, so REGISTER TODAY HERE !!

Nov. 10, 2017, 12-1pm Central Time: ÖWLI Webinar Series: Attract the Attention of Influential Sponsors. Harvard Business Review has reported that high-potential women are over-mentored and under-sponsored relative to male peers. In this webinar, led by Jo Miller, CEO of Women's Leadership Coaching, Inc., explore the difference between mentors and sponsors. Learn four ways to make the most of mentoring conversations, and how to identify potential sponsors. Discover eight steps to gaining sponsorship, and leave with a personalized plan to attract the attention of an influential sponsor. REGISTER HERE.

Best wishes for an amazing month,

Karen Edwards

Director, Össur Women's Leadership Initiative

ÖWLI Quote of the Month:"The first resistance to social change is to say it's not necessary." – Gloria Steinem, Journalist, social and political activist

Talk to us!! Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged! Please let us know what you think of our initiative, share your ideas, share your victories, or just say "hi" by emailing us at ÖWLI@Ö And follow us on Twitter @ÖWLIÖssur.