2011 Division Leadership Conference

The 2011 Division Leadership Conference (DLC) kicked off with a grand welcome reception where the Committee on Division / APA Relations (CODAPAR) and the APA Board of Directors greeted and mingled with the 2011 attendees.  There were some familiar faces in the crowd and many others who were getting their first upfront and hands-on experience with APA governance right here at the conference.  As old colleagues and friends chatted, the excitement and buzz around the room was what was in store for the next 48 hours.  

2011 DLC participantsIt wasn’t long before all was revealed regarding this weekend of information sharing, networking and knowledge gathering.  After CODAPAR members and those Board members attending, introduced themselves, the first session of the evening was “Introduction to the Committee on Division / APA Relations (CODAPAR) and the Division Leadership Conference (DLC)”.  Margaret Bull Kovera, PhD, 2011 CODAPAR chair facilitated this session, describing the functions of the Committee, it’s role and functions and how it interacts with divisions and APA.  Dr. Kovera also outlined the weekend, giving attendees a glimpse of how busy and engaged they would be over the next two days and explained the purpose and goal of the weekend was to provide attendees with the resources and tools to help make their term as president of their divisions as successful as possible.

The Division Leadership Conference is planned and structured in such a way that it gives attendees an inside look at how APA governance works, how they can get involved, resources provided by APA and how to navigate the APA infrastructure.  Staff is invited to participate and provide information on the services and support their offices offer divisions.  The first evening is centered around welcoming attendees and allowing them to get acquainted with other divisions leaders.

Norman B. Anderson, PhD, APA CEONorman B. Anderson, PhD, APA C.E.O. officially opened the conference with the “APA C.E.O. Address” (PDF, 4.99 MB).  During this talk, Dr. Anderson focused on the newly adopted APA Strategic Plan.  In its 100+ history, the Association has never had a strategic plan and the Council of Representatives voted in 2007 voted to include this in the Association Rules.  Dr. Anderson gave an update on the status of the process.  After much data collection and consulting, the Strategic Plan Committee came up with 3 Strategic Goals (1) Maximize Organizational Effectiveness; (2) Expand Psychology’s Role in Advancing Health and (3) Increase Recognition of Psychology as a Science.  The Committee has also worked diligently to develop a list of 7 strategic initiatives; a list that started out at over 170 ideas.  Dr. Anderson encouraged divisions to “consider the goals and objectives of APA’s Strategic Plan when considering divisional activities, programs, and projects.”  

Melba J.T. Vasquez, PhD, 2011 APA PresidentAttendees were pleased to also get an official welcome from APA President, Melba J. T. Vasquez, PhD.  In her “APA President’s Welcome” (PDF, 1.58 MB) Dr. Vasquez offered some advice on how to attendees should approach their president-elect’s term in office.  She talked about projects presidents-elect could consider taking on, how APA interacts and helps divisions and well as some leadership tips think about as one goes through their term.  Then Dr. Vasquez shared her presidential initiatives for 2011.   As part of her presentation, Dr. Vasquez honored Justin McDonald, Division 45; Janet Swim, Division 33 and Jeffrey Younggren, Division 41; with presidential citation for their extensive work in the field of psychology.


What’s better than to start a Saturday morning at 8 AM with some good food (for thought) and a few chuckles!  Julia Phillips, PhD, 2010 CODAPAR chair, led the day’s first session on “Top 10 Things to Know About Being a Division President” (PDF, 1.35 MB).  Dr. Phillips accomplished this goal by intertwining humor, technology and freshening up our ‘net-lingo’ by turning her ‘top 10’ list into text messages!  Some tips from her list included, “KTBS” – (know the bylaws); “Get2NoDSO” – (get to know the staff of the Division Services Office) and “Go2NutzNBoltz” – (a plug for the Nuts and Bolts Fair that CODAPAR hosted later in the day that featured key APA staff members whose offices provide services to divisions. 

Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, APA President-Elect, greeted attendees with the “APA Presidents-Elect Welcome” (PDF, 466 KB).  Dr. Bennett Johnson spoke briefly on her presidential themes for 2012, how divisions could be part of those initiatives and she encouraged division leaders to start thinking about how they could align their presidential goals with the APA Strategic Plan.  Dr. Bennett Johnson spent some time discussing with attendees the changing demographics of division membership and the importance of recruiting students and early career psychologists to keep divisions healthy and active.  One recommendation Dr. Bennett Johnson offered was to “work with ECPs to identify specific strategies to attract ECPs to APA and APA divisions”.

Getting to Know APA” (PDF, 2 MB), led by Mike Honaker, PhD, APA Deputy CEO, rounded out the morning sessions.  Dr. Honaker gave an overview of the structure and function of APA governance and APA Central Office.  During this talk, Dr. Honaker briefly touched on APA membership numbers, the make-up and function of the Council of Representatives, Board of Directors, boards and committees and how business is vetted through the APA governance system.  Understanding what a daunting and sometimes, cumbersome process it can be, Dr. Honaker jokingly related to attendees by stating, “I’ve been at APA for over 15 years and I still don’t know how it works.”  He then shifted his talk and focused on the works of the major directorates of the Association; Education, Practice, Public Interest and Science as well as Governance Affairs, Member Services and the Business Unit, which includes Finance, Publications and Information Technology. 

2011 DLC Breakout SessionDr. Honaker’s presentation was the perfect leadway to the next portion of the morning.  Attendees had the opportunity to get a more in depth information on the directorates in the breakout sessions.  Each directorate participated in the breakout sessions and provided attendees with updates and projects that are relevant to divisions and how divisions may get involved in these projects. 

The morning sessions ended with a presentation from APA Board Member, Jean A. Carter, PhD, giving a talk entitled, “Tips on Being a Division President – And Loving It!” (PDF, 303 KB).  Having been the president of several divisions, Dr. Carter offered sage advice on how to navigate through one’s presidency.  Dr. Carter spoke on responsibilities, leadership styles, setting goals and priorities, utilizing your board and facing challenges.  She ended her talk with what she considers the most practical advice, which was, “have fun!”

Understanding the resources APA provides was the focus of the afternoon sessions.  APA attorneys, Ann Springer, JD and Jesse Raben, JD, presented “Legal Risk Management” (PDF, 381 KB).   During their talk they discussed presidents’ fiduciary responsibilities, APA bylaws and policies that govern divisions, lobbying concerns, listserv and social networking policies and a host of other pertinent responsibilities and legal pitfalls to avoid.  The most sound piece of advice the attorney’s offered, “when in doubt – call them – they’re services are FREE to every division!”

Rhea Farberman, APR, led the group through “How to Prepare for Successful News Media Interviews” (PDF, 347 KB).  Ms. Farberman started her presentation by explaining the 3 parts of an interview; triage, preparation and the actual interview.  During the session she gave tips on researching the media outlet, jotting down your points before the interview and suggested some bridges and flags to reiterate your points. 

2011 DLC Nuts & Bolts FairThe Nuts & Bolts Fairs was a feature of the leadership conference.  Staff from the offices of Journals, Division Services, Accounting Services, General Counsel, Service Center Operations, Membership Development, American Psychological Foundation and CBIZ, were on hand to talk to attendees one on one and to answer any questions they may have had.  This also gave attendees the opportunity to network with one another and to find out who at APA Headquarters to contact with their specific needs. 

The highlight of the day was the live demonstration and pilot launch of APA’s new division web design and hosting service and the new social networking communities.  “JIVE – The New APA Frontier” (PDF, 6.65 MB), led by Dana Wakefield, gave attendees a sneak-peek at the new social networking tool and collaborative work area that will provide division members a place to interact with one another, discuss topics of interest and work together on documents housed in a central repository.  This service and platform will be available to all APA divisions as they move from the pilot stage to full execution. 

Sunday was set abuzz with the presentation, “Vantage Point:  Convention and Divisions”.  Nancy Moore, PhD and Dr. Carter led this session that focused on the Convention Task Force recommendations on how to improve and enhance the experience for convention attendees.  The discussion had 3 major themes; (a) Building a Better Convention, (b) Convention Programming:  Best Practices and (c) Central Office Enhancements. 

“A Look at Division Membership Trends and Recruiting Strategies” ended the morning’s discussion.  In the first part of the session, Merry Bullock, PhD; International Affairs (PDF, 469 KB); Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD; American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (PDF, 373 KB); Alberto Figueroa-Garcia; Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (PDF, 493 KB) discussed ways to recruit members of their respective constituents.  Although Oksana Yakushko, PhD, Committee on Early Career Psychologists (PDF, 332 KB) wasn’t able to attend, each of the panelists constructed their presentation by answering the following questions: 

  1. What are 3 unique characteristics or experiences of the people you serve that are important for Divisions to understand? 

  2. What are 3 strategies divisions might use to recruit the people you serve? 

  3. What are 3 things divisions can do to retain the people you serve?

Dr. Kovera then presented information and data on division membership trends (PDF, 605 KB).  Dr. Kovera presentation focused on membership trends, who’s joining (and not joining) and she gave ideas for growing your division membership.  Dr. Kovera discussed ideas for growing members of the ‘Generation X’ and how division leaders can start utilizing their talents and listening to their concerns.  Dr. Kovera also gave an overview of division demographics, characteristics and other pipeline issues that sparked lively conversations from attendees as they shared their concerns facing their respective divisions.  

Mark your calendars!  The 2012 Division Leadership Conference will be held January 20-22.  Divisions are strongly encouraged to send their president-elect.  If your president-elect is unable to attend, we encourage divisions to recruit a replacement to attend this valuable training weekend!