Running Commentary

For its first 60 years, APA had no central office: Home was wherever the president or secretary happened to live. APA's first central office was established in 1946 and 23 years later Judy Strassburger came to work here: a good day for Judy and an excellent day for APA.

You may not have met Judy, and since she often works behind the scenes, the picture to the right may be the first you've seen of her. But in 31 years as an APA staff member, her work has impacted most APA members directly or indirectly. If you have ever gone to an APA convention, you've probably attended the outstanding opening ceremonies and the awards ceremony. Judy's office plans and directs both of these events. All APA elections are overseen and managed by Garnett Coad, a member of her staff. Liz Kaplinski in Judy's office arranges APA's art exhibits and periodic lecture series at the Smithsonian to showcase some of psychology's best and brightest. And in 1992, Judy planned and directed the centennial celebration and almost single-handedly raised the money from member contributions to fund it.

At the heart of APA governance

All of these activities, extensive as they are, are incidental to Judy's main job, which is managing the business of APA's main governing bodies, the Council of Representatives and the Board of Directors. Every officer, Board member and Council member for decades has known and respected Judy Strassburger, and many maintain contact with her for years after their term of office ends. In her APA career, Judy has worked with five executive officers, 31 APA presidents, 160 Board members and more than 2,500 members of Council.

Judy Strassburger came to APA in 1969 as secretary to the executive officer, Kenneth Little, never dreaming, I'm sure, that she would be here 31 years later. Only one APA staff member, Candy Won, who directs APA's conventions, has served as long and as loyally. Over the years, a succession of executive officers came to appreciate Judy's remarkable skills and even more remarkable dedication to APA. Promotions followed one after another, and her responsibilities grew accordingly.

Every year hundreds of items of business and policy come before the Board of Directors and the Council of Representatives, and every one of those items is reviewed by Judy and put in proper format and tracked through APA's governance system to implementation by Government Affairs Officer Maureen O'Brien. It is fair to say that no significant decisions are made by APA's top governance bodies without Judy's careful attention.

The Board of Directors is at the heart of APA's governance system, and no one works more closely with the Board than Judy. One of her roles is to facilitate the work of each Board member, and she is in almost daily contact with them as they carry out their duties. Judy is directly responsible for the Office of the President, and is responsible for every presidential activity from major presidential initiatives to daily schedules. No wonder the 31 presidents with whom Judy has worked form her most enthusiastic fan club.

My involvement in APA governance began around the time Judy joined the APA staff, so I had an opportunity to work with her as a Council member, Board member and president. When I came to APA as chief executive officer 11 years ago, I already had an appreciation of Judy's talents, so I appointed her to the Executive Management Group, which acts as a cabinet to review and discuss all major central office activities. Judy's wisdom, sensitivity and good sense have made her voice an essential element in our decision-making. In recognition of her outstanding contributions, I have the pleasure of announcing Judy's promotion to the position of Executive Director for Governance Affairs, one of the highest positions within the central office structure.

Judy has made a major contribution to the effectiveness of APA's operations, and in her new position she will have an opportunity to contribute even more. My administrative mentor, Paul Siegel, who preceded me as department head at the University of Alabama, advised that staff members could be judged on the "evaporation scale"---how badly would the operation be hurt if that person evaporated. It is clear to me that Judy rates very high on the evaporation scale, and we're fortunate to have her.