"Surround yourself with competent, self-motivated people and get out of their way. If they don't work out, then you made a mistake in selecting them for the job. If they do a great job, give them the credit." Although this may not be an exact quote, it captures the essence of some wisdom Ray Fowler imparted to me. It speaks to his highly successful yet understated approach to leadership. As a psychologist and director of an organization, I found these words to be both challenging and freeing. I have no doubt, however, that the people who work for me are grateful to Ray for sharing this wisdom.
--Daniel Abrahamson, PhD Clinical psychologist and administrative director of the Traumatic Stress Institute/Center for Adult & Adolescent Psychotherapy, South Windsor, Conn.
Over the last few months, I have been taking a tutorial from Ray. It's called 'APA CEO 101.' At our convention in Chicago, I asked our neuropsychologists and neuroscientists to quickly create a brain machine so that everything in Ray's head could be transferred to mine. Since we didn't have that, Ray has taught me literally dozens of lessons about the job--from the nuts and bolts, to the hassles and uplifts. My apprenticeship with Ray has left me even more impressed with his legendary leadership skills. Ray has set the leadership bar for APA very high, and those of us who follow will forever strive to make successive approximations to the standards he has established.
--Norman B. Anderson, PhD APA CEO-elect
As I think over the years with Ray at the helm, I do not believe I could have envisioned any other person in his place. He was our "rock of Gibraltar" when the skies opened and poured on us all the uneasiness, unrest and misery that has happened. He has been a ray of sunshine, a man of good cheer and a superb leader--a leader who provided us with stability, superb organizational management and the skill to choose highly capable individuals who would support and enhance his role.
As a person, his warmth, friendliness, ever-ready smile and calm, well-reasoned behaviors when storms beset APA are well recognized by one and all. I am very saddened by his leaving, and hope that he will remain in some role in APA so that the stability we need during these difficult times will continue.
--Fran Culbertson, PhD Private practice, Madison, Wis.
I first met Ray when he was a volunteer in APA governance in the early 80s. One of the valuable lessons I learned from Ray is that he values every Member--no matter whether the person is in high office or a Member who just pays dues each year. He treats everyone as an important part of the team. He has never been too busy to talk with state staff and understand our issues. Ray has been a stalwart supporter of state associations, has understood their value and been there for us.
--Sally R. Cameron, Executive Director North Carolina Psychological Association
As we all know, Ray Fowler is a man of many talents. The one that most impressed me during my Central Office stint was his uncanny ability to disarm hostile, and usually uninformed, APA critics. Invariably, his courteous, factual replies would elicit a Radneresque "never mind" from the complainant, and not infrequently, a true APA conversion experience as well. Some attribute this skill to his training and experience as a clinician, but I know better. Try selling bibles door-to-door if you want a real education in how to turn a profit by turning the other cheek. Just like Ray got.
--William C. Howell, PhD APA Executive Director for Science, 1992-97
I first met Ray when he was APA president and I was a graduate student. With the extraordinary demands upon him, he gave generously of his support to the establishment of an APA student organization. Without him, APAGS would not be. In the years since, he has publicly and privately (in ways not often witnessed) bolstered the APAGS agenda. And he has mentored me and countless others into the governance of APA. I have seen him steady the waters of APA with his wisdom, calmness and caring style. He is a diplomat, a gentleman and a gem. To me, he will always remain the human face of APA.
--David J. Pilon, PhD Nova Scotia, Canada
People ask how Ray's job as CEO has been for me. We do lots of things together, but being APA CEO is literally a 24/7 job. Whether at home or traveling, he is never far from a phone, fax machine and computer, and he is likely to be working on APA problems even in his sleep. Our grandchildren must think of their Pop as something like Edward Scissorhands--but it's Ray Computerhands, since even at leisure times he's always getting and responding to messages on his Blackberry or laptop or his portable phone. I have pictures of Ray on huge boulders, majestic mountain tops, white sandy beaches, and next to Olympic swimming pools talking on the phone or tapping on his laptop. I travel with Ray on virtually all of his out of town trips, because that is how we get to spend time together. If he is in D.C., he is at work late every day, and in this job a weekend is Sunday afternoon--if we're lucky. Yes, it really is a 24/7 job, but he has loved it, and I have, too.
--Sandy Fowler Ray's wife
Having known and worked with Ray for more than four decades, going back to our clinical internships at Worcester State Hospital in 1954-55, it is difficult in a few words to express my admiration and respect for his many contributions to the science and practice of psychology, and to APA. While I have learned many things from Ray, I have been most impressed with his exceptional skill in analyzing problems, and his wisdom and superb judgment in finding solutions that are fair and beneficial to everyone.
--Charles D. Spielberger, PhD Distinguished Research Professor, University of South Florida
Although I have known Ray's retirement was approaching, I still have trouble envisioning the association without Ray as CEO. Indeed, as a relative newcomer to the association, I have known no other CEO. I had the pleasure of working for Ray for more than three years. It was an extraordinary opportunity to learn from a person I came to value for his great wisdom, remarkable insight, unbridled enthusiasm and keen sense of humor borne of his southern roots. My secret goal for several years has been to go jogging with Ray. Then I learned more about his training regimen, and I have decided to deal with the disappointment.
--Richard McCarty, PhD Dean of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt University
Ray was a governance mentor for me when I became chair of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS). He championed the cause of graduate students by initially helping to create the APAGS committee, which has since grown to over 59,000 members--almost a third of the APA membership--and established a graduate student presence at virtually every level within the APA governance. He personally introduced me to national and international leaders of psychology and educated me on the mission of professional organizations in psychology. He is an extraordinary model of effective leadership who inspires others to follow his enthusiasm for the field, dignity, fairness and quiet, confident reason.
--Mitch Prinstein, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychology, Yale University
Ray Fowler, Mr. APA: Its savior and keeper. For 15 years, Ray has been a special friend to all the presidents. But to me, an outsider, he was both friend and mentor--the only mentor I have had since age 30. Of all the memories I cherish of those years, the one I cherish most is of Ray's visage: smiling, calm, commanding, kind and, above all, wise.
--Martin E.P. Seligman, PhDFormer APA President and Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Psychology
While participating in meetings with Ray, such as the Psychology Executive Roundtable, I and others consistently have been impressed by his quiet and unassuming manner, which belies the breadth and depth of his knowledge, his astute insights, his vision and the fact that he is a true renaissance person. While many know Ray as the consummate statesperson for our profession, I have grown to trust Ray as an invaluable friend, colleague and mentor. When I have experienced both professional and personal challenges, I have greatly appreciated Ray's wisdom, counsel, compassion and support. Time spent socializing with Ray and Sandy has led me to appreciate the depth of their love for one another, and Ray's willingness to not only go "above and beyond the call of duty" for our profession, but also for his family and friends.
--Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD Professor, Emory University School of Medicine
Over the 13 years I've worked with Ray as CEO, I've marveled at Ray's passion for ensuring things get done right. No member's concern was ever too small to get Ray's attention. If a member was concerned, so was Ray. On a more personal note, as my boss, he listened to what I had to say and made me feel like I made a genuine contribution. Having worked with Ray as a board member, treasurer, president and CEO, I can't imagine what it will be like not to interact with him and will truly miss this--not to mention that he made the only salmon dish I ever liked!
--Judy Strassburger Executive Director, APA Governance Affairs
When I think of Ray's accomplishments as CEO three things stand out: 1. He brought us back from the brink of insolvency to a sound financial position--and we are sound despite our current cash flow problems. 2. He recruited and supported a cadre of first-class managerial talent to help us totally re-invent APA's organizational structure based on Directorates tasked with serving core constituencies. 3. He embodied his central message of learning to work civilly with each other despite our strong contrary convictions. In one of the awards presented on the occasion of his retirement, I described him as a gentle dolphin who guided us through many shark-infested waters. That is Ray. He was a guide who never threatened or intimidated. He helped us see where we needed to go and then guided us on the trip. He will be greatly missed.
--Ron Fox, PhD Former APA President
Most of what I know about APA, its Byzantine structure and intriguing politics, I learned from Ray. Ray has been an excellent boss, colleague, mentor and friend. I have known him for almost 30 years and throughout that time I have always admired his ability to calm the waters in any situation and his uncanny skill of giving everything his complete attention. It has been a great honor to learn from and work for the best there is. Psychology will forever be indebted to his leadership.
--L. Michael Honaker, PhD APA Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO
Ray Fowler strengthened international communication in psychology well before his election to APA president or becoming CEO. Ray telephoned one day in 1979, told me about a Caribbean Workshop he was organizing on board a Russian cruise ship, and asked if I could arrange a meeting with Cuban colleagues when the ship docked in Havana. I sent letters but received no replies.
On arrival we were welcomed on the quay by a group of wildly cheering Cuban psychologists there to meet American colleagues on a Russian ship in Havana harbor. Ray spontaneously organized a reception on board. The next day busses took us to Havana Psychiatric Hospital where the president of the Cuban Society of the Psychology of Health and the chief psychologist at the Ministry of Public Health greeted us warmly. So did the presidents of the psychiatric society and social workers organization. Ray facilitated the exchange of APA and Cuban psychology journals and Cuban participation in the 1980 APA Annual Convention in Montreal, where Air Cubana was permitted to land. He widened international horizons in psychology, bridging ideological and political barriers.
--Henry P. David, PhD Transnational Family Research Institute Bethesda, Md.