President's Message: Here's to the Crazy Ones...

Author: Kim Cavitt, Au.D.

Apple once said, “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” I love this quote. It says a lot about ADA’s past and where ADA is today.

ADA, in its foundings, and in its now almost 40-year history, has always been the bastion of change and growth. We are the rebels. I had heard many stories of infighting, questionable decisions, financial instability and unhappy members long before I became a member in the late 1990s, and long before I joined the Board of Directors. There have been disagreements over relationships and undertakings of other audiology associations, business endeavors that were undertaken, moving beyond a masters-level education to the Au.D., difficult management companies and even the organizational name change from Academy of Dispensing Audiologists to Academy of Doctors of Audiology.

There are still plenty of folks who disagree over some of these decisions that were made far in the past. Members tell me about them all of time, but often do not air their grievances to the broader group, because they recognize that it will only create a wake of destruction. Heck, I even disagree with some of the decisions that were made in the past. However, instead of continuing to argue about them, I prefer to look forward. I want to work with ADA members to build something new and better together for the greater good, rather than to destroy what makes us valuable to audiology.

No singular audiologist, generation of audiologists, ADA Board or ADA president for that matter has the “magic” formula for ADA or this profession. I sure know that I do not have it. Instead, we need to trust those we elected to take an honest look at the current landscape around us, and make decisions that are in the best interest of ADA, its members and audiology as we evolve as a profession. Is the Board going to do things some members or the audiology community don’t like? Sure we are. We always have. But, it is that willingness to pivot, innovate and evolve that makes our organization and its members unique.

Larry Ellison of Oracle said it best, “When you innovate you have got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts.” Maybe, to some of you, we are nuts. But every industry and profession has had to innovate and evolve. Audiology is just a little later to the party than most. The rules and approaches of old will no longer suffice in this digital, value-based, consumer-driven, global world. Our goal is to help ADA members better compete in that world. Please realize that every decision that has been made in the past five years, from suing ASHA, to 18 x 18, to Unison has been with you, ADA and audiology in mind. All of these decisions have been to fulfill this mission, “the advancement of practitioner excellence, high ethical standards, professional autonomy and sound business practices in the provision of quality audiologic care.”

ADA’s latest endeavor on behalf of its members, earVenture, is no different. If you have not already heard about it, I encourage you to visit www.earventure.net to learn more.

While we have much work and many challenges ahead of us, we also have much opportunity. How successful we become individually and collectively really depends on how we choose to respond. Apple’s Steve Jobs said, “Innovation distinguishes a leader from a follower.” We, at ADA, do not want to be followers. We never have been, so why start now? ADA must continue to be a leader in this profession and in the hearing healthcare arena. We have garnered such a mighty voice for such a small group. Let’s continue to use it for growth and change and be open and understanding of new ideas, voices and paths forward. When you lead though, you can get labeled as “nuts”! Bring it on...