Please share a description of your volunteer experience within APTA. How has this experience affected your perspective on leadership and volunteerism within physical therapy?
I had no intention of getting involved when I started PT school. I was focused on getting in and out of school and a career in sports PT. But in the summer between my second and third year one of my classmates, who had run for APTA Student Assembly office the year prior, said “You know, I think you’d be good.” She introduced me to some of the Student Assembly Board of Directors and that quickly set into motion a run for office. I attended National Student Conclave (NSC) for the first time and my motivation was super charged by the energy and enthusiasm at the conference. I served a year as Student Assembly director of communication, and then jumped into other projects such as the membership chair for the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy and the APTA Leadership Development Committee. Being involved in the APTA has opened up so many doors for my career. Volunteering has expanded my network of students, early, and established career members infinitely; a professional network I rely on regularly. Being involved has helped me grow as a clinician and leader. I have gained knowledge regarding the APTA and the profession, as well as myself. Although there are many draws on my time, being involved in APTA has always boosted my motivation and renewed my love of our profession. Whether it be learning from our leaders or watching the profession grow and contributing to positive change, I don’t think I would find my career as a physical therapist nearly as rewarding as I have were it not for being involved.
How did you first learn about becoming involved with APTA and what made you decide to volunteer?
I first met my closest professional mentor at CSM. He was my first insight into leadership and how people-focused our profession is. But it was a PT school classmate who encouraged me to run for Student Assembly office who really got me involved. From there, the Student Assembly and attending NSC were so inspiring it was hard not to want to be involved.
What have you gained from the experience that you would share with others considering volunteering?
The thing I am most thankful for is the professional network I have gained. I've met and gotten to know so many incredible people from around the country. There are people I regularly keep in contact with and who I see as mentors, but also some who I only see once a year at conferences. They all keep me motivated, and I know I can call or contact them in a heartbeat.
Please describe any obstacles that made you hesitate or prevented you from volunteering in the past.
Everyone has a lot of things pulling on their time. It can be hard to see where you might find the time. Balance is tough, especially with family and personal life outside of one's career, but I found that by saying 'yes' when I could, and sometimes having to say 'no,' I was able to find the right opportunities that fit with where I was and could take on.
Have you participated in any leadership development programs within APTA? If so, please describe the program and how it made an impact on your personal or professional growth.
APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors (great launch pad, leadership introduction, and growth or professional network), AASPT Membership Committee member and chair (a chance to be involved in sports PT and make an impact on getting other student and early-career involvement), APTA Leadership Development Committee (amazing opportunity to help contribute to the future of APTA and how we develop future leaders)
Note: The term "APTA" used here is inclusive of all levels of the organization, including national, chapters, sections, academies, councils, special interest groups, etc.
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