We recently had our first call of the 2017 MAC Co-Facilitators: Fernando Carrillo (Oregon CB), Sam Grossman (New Jersey CB), Melanie Teslik (New York CB), Amanda Stahnke (Pharmacy COI), and Molly McElwee-Malloy (Diabetes Technology COI). These five awesome volunteers are assisted by AADE staff: Nadine Merker (Director of Member & Volunteer Engagement), Pati Mangano (Senior Manager, Volunteer Engagement), and Cindy Wilson (Volunteer Engagement Coordinator). I also serve as the Member Affiliates Liaison (MAL) to the Board of Directors.
One of the topics that came up was that other members do not know what the MAC is. Okay, so some defining time: MAC stands for Member Affiliates Council. This group is formed from the volunteer leaders involved in the states Coordinating Bodies (CBs) and the leaders of the Communities of Interest (COIs). Each fall, Volunteer Engagement Staff at AADE ask for leaders willing to give a little more of their time to be a representation of the volunteer leaders to the Engagement Staff and myself—and thus the Board of Directors. The co-facilitators for the Council are then chosen from this group of upstanding volunteers; three from the CB representation and two from the COI representation. Having this mix gives the council a great perspective.
The Council’s responsibilities include four conference calls a year, posting on the leadership forum, and writing articles like this once or twice a year for the Volunteer Leader Newsletter. The calls are a bigger way for the staff to engage with leaders and get their perspective on a variety of topics, including how to make the organization better for members and leaders. This is also great for me as the MAL to the board, because it gives me that “straight from the mouth” thought of the members to take with me to the board meetings. The MAC is the voice of the membership!
At AADE16 in San Diego, the co-facilitators also had the opportunity to be mentors to attendees from the College Diabetes Network. These attendees were students—and who better to start showing them the ropes as a diabetes educator than MAC co-facilitators who can help bring them into the profession? MAC members can also speak to how wonderful membership in AADE can be. I hope that with our partnership with the College Diabetes Network, the council members will again have the chance to mentor in Indianapolis at AADE17.
Lastly, I wanted to mention a little of what the Member Affiliates Liaison is, as I am in the second year of my two year term in this role. The application for this year’s ballot is out which will includes the MAL position. In this role, I get the chance to be the member voice to the board of directors. Everyone else on the board is obviously a member and is in tune with other members in their area, but the MAL position is an ex-officio (but voting) member of the board specifically to bring the member perspective to topics being discussed at board meetings. I have loved coming from being a CB chair in North Carolina and the lead for the Inpatient Management COI, to this position. It has allowed me to bring that “boots on the ground” perspective of a volunteer leader, and it’s that perspective that the MAC brings to the table to the board meetings. During my two years as the MAL, I’ve had the opportunity to serve on the Stakeholders and Members Relations (SMRC) committee where we discuss the topics near and dear to all of us, such as advocacy, the activity of technology workgroup, and membership issues. I also have the opportunity to engage with all of you at the CB Leader Training, during CB/LNG leadership calls, during COI leadership calls, and my absolute favorite, meeting you all at the CB/COI Networking event at the annual meeting.
Serving in this role has been a great way for me to give back to AADE—an organization that without the resources, colleagues, and friends I have made, I would not be able to do my job as a diabetes educator half as well. I am smart, but with AADE in my back pocket, I am that much smarter and more confident and I love being a volunteer leader. In addition, if you feel the same way, I encourage you to apply to be a Director or the Member Affiliates Liaison.