Headquarter's Report: AuDacity: Roots of Autonomy, Growth through Community

Author: Stephanie Czuhajewski, CAE, Executive Director

ADA was formed and founded for the express purpose of advancing the autonomous practice of audiology. The word autonomous is of Greek origin; a combination of roots autos (self) and nomos (law). Thus, autonomous means “having its own laws.” Autonomy is the “freedom from external control or influence; independence.”

The commitment to autonomous practice makes ADA, both by design and by necessity, bolder than other audiology organizations. ADA is a product of its members, and ADA members are quite simply more likely to hold bolder views, make bolder statements, and take bolder positions than other segments of the audiology community. ADA attracts audiologists who are entrepreneurial. These innovators and early adopters are more willing to take bold risks to advance their practices and are less likely to give in to fear or failure.

Not only do ADA members walk the walk, they often walk it alone, either ahead of everyone else—or in a completely new and different direction altogether. You can usually identify them by the scrapes and bruises they’ve acquired along the way. ADA members have an innate ability to turn a lesson learned into a legacy, and the foresight to recognize that a sacrifice today will bring a sea-change tomorrow.

A hearing industry executive once told me that ADA is considered by many to be the “libertarian wing” of the audiology community. After 10 years of service, I have yet to meet an ADA member that likes to be told what to do. This propensity toward free will, necessary for a culture of autonomy, can make it more difficult to create a sense of community. Enter AuDacity. AuDacity is the place where autonomous audiologists come together to learn, network, advocate, mentor, and plan—so that they can go back to their practices and be more independent. Since 1977, ADA members have convened annually to forge a framework for the future, and to develop the ideas that have literally changed the trajectory of the profession.

The 2018 AuDacity educational program is exceptional. However, it will be the informal education and networking that happens in the hallway, in the exhibit hall, and yes in the bar that will undoubtedly make history and change the future. Just as it always has. AuDacity is renowned as a safe environment to debate controversial and cutting-edge notions, to propose the unimaginable, and to encounter colleagues who are equally devoted to taking audiology to the next level.

AuDacity’s culture of autonomy and community is like an ‘enchanted’ forest. Each tree is a unique creative force rooted in autonomy—but it is only when all of the trees stand together in community that magical growth and transformation happens profession wide.

More than 40 years after the first Convention, ADA members are bolder than ever, and so too is AuDacity. So bring your bold ideas and let’s formulate a bolder-to-boldest vision for the autonomous practice of audiology. Visit www.audiologist.org to register now.