When I received a scholarship from CVS Health to attend the American Society on Aging’s (ASA) 2019 Leadership Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana in April, I wasn’t sure of what to expect from the training. But ASA’s claim that graduates would leave the leadership development program with a broad exposure to key influencers and multiple opportunities to connect with other professionals in the aging field was right on target.
In preparation for the Leadership Institute, we were asked to complete several reading assignments and review an aging toolkit. We also completed two online self-assessments on communication and leadership styles. Although the results weren’t surprising, it helped me understand my actions and how to work with other styles more effectively.
The Leadership Institute offered valuable information about the qualities and behaviors desired by leaders. Leaders must be flexible and adapt to changing situations. I learned about the different leadership styles and behaviors, and how each one is vital. I gained information about my personal leadership strengths as well as weaknesses and learned how to improve. I realized that our styles are also developed by the culture we live in and our past experiences. We need to recognize that with everyone.
The time spent talking with other attendees helped me further develop my leadership skills. Not only did I meet many of the leaders in the field of aging, I developed relationships that will withstand the test of time. It was very motivating to meet Jim Sykes, winner of the 2019 ASA Hall of Fame award, and to discuss which direction the aging arena is headed.
The Leadership Institute and conference was exciting. Each event I attended was informative and delivered valuable networking opportunities. Every aspect of the conference was helpful to me personally and professionally as I continue a career in aging and assisting American Indian and Alaska Native elders.
I would like thank CVS Health for their scholarship and support that allowed me to attend the institute. Without them I wouldn’t have had this amazing opportunity to increase my skills to work with our community elders. Thank you.
Cheryl J. Archibald
Assistant to the Executive Director