First, a quick thank you to everyone who supported the AOTA elections by giving your opinions, your feedback and suggestions and voicing your concerns.

Second, congratulations to Wendy Churchill-Hildenbrand and Debra Young who were elected as President-Elect and Vice-President. AOTA will be in the hands of committed and skilled leaders.

Third, thanks to everyone who supported me by voting for me, by engaging with me during the election and for all the nice messages I received after. Your words and the caring and appreciation demonstrated in them via Email, Texts and Facebook messages helped to soften my disappointment. I gave it my all and I am proud of that with no regrets!

Now, on to the future! During the campaign there were many expressions of concern over 1) the lack of diversity in the profession, in AOTA and in AOTA leadership, 2) the lack of OTA engagement in AOTA and in AOTA leadership, and 3) the need to mentor a group of young and diverse leaders so that we had fresh faces stepping forward!

Okay, time to step up! AOTA’s Volunteer Leadership and Development Committee (VLDC) has put out the call for applications for quite a number of positions. Several of these in the SIS’s are specific to newer practitioners, and most could be filled by an OTA.

I am walking the talk by reaching out specifically to several young practitioners who I “met” through the campaign and to staff who work at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I am forwarding the link to the AOTA Website and offering my assistance with anything I can do to help with the application process.

I challenge all of you, but especially anyone who voiced concern since November about the lack of diversity in AOTA leadership, the lack of OTA involvement OR the fact that many of the same people step forward again and again to make sure you contact no less than 1 person and ask them to submit their application. Offer to help if they need it, provide them encouragement, ask them to share the link, and refer them to me or any other seasoned AOTA volunteer if they have questions.

We can determine our own future and if we want a group of future diverse leaders we can create that cohort now!