From the desk of the EMD: Reflections from the College Leadership Summit.

May 7, 2018

For the second year, the College hosted a leadership summit for young allergists. It was a diverse group, with a majority being female and coming from academic positions, private practice, and the military. The one-and-a-half-day program is an investment in the future of our specialty. With the dramatic changes occurring in allergy, we must ensure that we have future leaders who can move the College forward. I am happy to report to you, after spending the weekend with these allergists in Chicago, that we are in good hands. I believe the skills developed during this Summit will be invaluable to them in their careers and in roles of leadership in the College.

What did we do at the Summit?  On the first day, Brad Chipps, MD, FACAAI, president of the College, welcomed the group. Our facilitator, Mary Ritz, from Bold New Directions, led a training session on developing leadership and management talents.  I can’t go into all the subjects covered, but one of the most interesting exercises of the day was one in understanding the personality of a person by grouping them in one of four different types: Doer, Thinker, Talker, and Guardian. A Doer wants immediate results, makes quick decisions, takes authority, wants the big picture and is a poor listener. Characteristics of the Thinker are that they concentrate on details, think analytically, work systematically and create diplomacy. Your Talker is social , is enthusiastic, acts impulsively and is a dreamer. Finally, a Guardian helps others, shows loyalty, wants predictability, avoids conflict and decides by consensus. By being able to determine an individual’s personality type, a leader can know best how to interact and motivate that person. Pharmaceutical sales and medical affairs go through this type of training in learning how to interact with you, the allergist. What type of person are you? Not surprisingly, most of the Summit physicians were doers with a smaller number of thinkers.

Another concept in leadership covered on day one was the ‘platinum rule.’ I am sure you know the golden rule: treat others the way that you want to be treated. In working with people, one should follow the platinum rule: treat others the way that they want to be treated.

The second day was devoted to specific leadership topics pertinent to the allergist. I gave an update on the College, emphasizing the changes enacted in Vision 2020. One of the main points is that the College is moving to more of a “bottom up” approach, with the committees taking a major role in developing initiatives for the membership. Next, Janna Tuck, MD, FACAAI, and Tracy Fausnight, MD, FACAAI, discussed their roles as committee chairs, and Jim Sublett, MD, FACAAI, the executive director of the Advocacy Council, explained how the attendees can be active in advocacy on a state and national basis. Truly one of the highlights of the weekend was Maureen Petersen, MD, FACAAI, program director of allergy/immunology at Walter Reed, who presented “How to Apply Leadership Skills as an Allergist.” I can’t do justice in describing how motivating her words were to the young allergists. You can watch last year’s presentation on the College Learning Connection.

Leadership can’t be taught in one weekend, but this program is an important step in creating the future leaders of the College and the field of allergy. Thanks to all the speakers, College staff, and especially the attendees. I look forward to next year’s Summit.