Leader’s Center

Handling the extra responsibilities that come with a leadership position requires vision and know-how. This webpage is designed to help you realize your full potential as an AAMA volunteer leader, beginning with inspirational messages from other leaders like you.



Leader Spotlight

Dawn Alter, CMA (AAMA), AAS

2018–2019 Tennessee Society of Medical Assistants (TNSMA) Vice President

What is one characteristic you believe all leaders should possess?

Being open to new ideas for change. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the way things have “always” been done that we are unwilling to consider new ideas. If someone has a new idea, listen. It may not be a perfect idea initially, but with some brainstorming, it may be a change that benefits everyone.

 What advice would you give to a new leader?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how insignificant they seem. You won’t know the answer for sure until you ask an experienced leader. Also, don’t be afraid to try new ideas. As a new leader, you may have ideas no one has thought of, and they may be hugely successful.

How did someone, such as a mentor, influence you to take a leadership role?

I didn’t have the confidence in myself to take on a leadership role, but I have two mentors who saw my potential and encouraged me to take on a greater leadership role than I had in the past. They committed to meeting with me, educating me, and answering any questions, and they have kept that commitment.


Sherri Swan-McMillan, CMA (AAMA)

2018–2019 Utah State Society of Medical Assistants President

What is one characteristic you believe all leaders should possess?

Genuine caring is vital to be an effective leader! When you truly care about an organization, you put the needed time and energy into making it run smoothly and progress. Yet the most important caring is for the individual. People are the greatest asset to any group. As we reach out to others with warmth, they feel welcome. As we really listen, they feel validated. As we use their ideas, they feel valued. As we keep an open mind, we invite “outside the box” thinking and sharing as we build friendships and strengthen our chapters. It truly is all about the people!

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your AAMA volunteer leadership experience?

By far it has been the association with amazing people! It has been wonderful to get to know others across my state as well as across the country. Each brings a unique perspective to being an active CMA (AAMA) as we share ideas and experiences. This interaction always makes me a better person! 

How do you encourage and inspire others to take active roles?

The first thing we do is invite everyone to our conferences. The next thing is to invite them to our monthly board meetings where we get to know them better as we listen to their ideas, letting them know we value their input and suggestions. Then we ask them to be board members at large, and they are usually hooked as they see what a great organization this is, how good our conferences are, and how much fun we have!


David Sylvia, CMA (AAMA), BBA

2018–2019 New York State Society of Medical Assistants President

What is one characteristic you believe all leaders should possess?

All leaders should possess the ability to lead by example as a positive role model and never ask anything of anyone that you would not take on yourself. Advocate for members, the profession, CMAs (AAMA), and medical assisting students.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your AAMA volunteer leadership experience?

Becoming something bigger than myself, giving back to the community that helped shape who I am, and doing meaningful work while making a difference in the lives of the people I meet has been the most rewarding aspect of my AAMA volunteer leadership experience.

How do you encourage and inspire others to take active roles?

I share my own story and encourage volunteerism. I reassure them that we are surrounded by seasoned mentors who are happy to assist the next generation of volunteer leaders and that a passion for the profession is all the qualification required.


Archives

View previously published interviews with many other state leaders: 2019 State Leader Spotlights Archive.