Jennifer Manos, executive director of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, answers questions from an SSH member about strategic leadership, getting started in associations, and “balance in all things.”
In a constantly changing environment, how do you decide what takes the highest priority?
It’s important to have a strategic plan to assist in determining key priorities, activities, and workflows to ensure we meet the needs of membership today and into the future.
To do this, our board of directors and executive leadership team recently participated in a strategic planning retreat. We reviewed and updated our strategic plan to create priorities for a three-year period. Seven strategic priorities were developed and approved by the board. Those priorities now help to align the operational goals of the organization, which in turn helps me to strategize and prioritize my workload and the delineation of responsibility for our 17 employees.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone entering association management, what would it be?
Be patient and flexible, and remember it’s not about you, the leader. It’s about them: the employees, volunteers, and members. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to create an inspiring environment where employees and volunteers can thrive and be creative. Creating a culture of inspiration and growth, especially within a growing association, can be a challenge. I must consciously find new ways to support everyone involved. It’s not about your own success, but about the success of the organization and community you serve.
“Balance in all things” is easier said than done. How do you bring balance to your life?
SSH is a virtual office environment. Working from home definitely has its benefits, but it also has its own set of challenges too. It’s very easy to work around the clock because, technically, I never leave the office. What I have found works best for me is to schedule dedicated time each week for work, family, and myself. I have learned that I need to be flexible and creative in juggling a hectic schedule. Each week may be a little different, due to different demands, but I strive to always maintain a balanced approach.