Author + information
- Robert Shor, MD, FACC, Chair, ACC Board of Governors∗ ()
- ↵∗Address correspondence to:
Robert Shor, MD, FACC, American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037.
The path to leadership at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) is well worn by those leaders who came before, those men and women who led our organization through its many growth spurts and changes, both internally and externally, as the economy and health care landscape shifted. The paths to leadership vary, but one of those paths is through grassroots, local-level leadership within ACC chapters. There are countless examples of past ACC presidents who had previously served in leadership roles within ACC chapters.
These include recent leaders such as John Harold, MD, MACC, of California; Ralph Brindis, MD, MPH, MACC, of California; Fred Bove, MD, PhD, MACC, of Pennsylvania; and David Holmes, Jr., MD, MACC, of Minnesota; as well as the ACC’s current President-Elect Richard Chazal, MD, FACC, of Florida; and Vice President Mary Norine Walsh MD, FACC, of Indiana. Each of these leaders served as governors of state ACC chapters prior to rising through the ranks and leading the College in its highest office.
These leaders, among so many others who rose to the presidency or other College leadership positions, spent years in their states, with the help of highly engaged member volunteers and chapter executives, building state educational and quality programs, growing membership, creating opportunities for those new to the field and to the ACC, and advocating on behalf of the entire cardiovascular care team and their patients. In essence, state chapters are ACC in miniature, with activities and goals representative of the College’s overarching strategic plan. As such, they are a prime location to hone leadership skills.
Once-dubbed “manager of the century” by Fortune magazine, former chief executive officer of General Electric, Jack Welch, said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is about growing others” (1). As such, the ACC believes deeply in the power and importance of mentoring, and this is why during my year as Chair of the ACC’s Board of Governors (BOG), we solidified and developed a mentorship program for governors and emerging chapter leaders. In developing this BOG mentoring program, I did some self-reflection. On a personal level, I feel very fortunate to have had, at critical times in my development as a cardiologist, mentors who helped me make choices and guide me on my path. It was because of their willingness to donate their time, experience, and expertise that I was able to learn and grow. My continued participation in the ACC was related to the exposure I had to enthusiastic, effective leaders within the College, and I wanted to ensure that the ACC designed a process to sustain this type of support and pay it forward each year.
This mentoring program matches first-year governors with more experienced and former members of the BOG, and was developed to further enhance the effectiveness of the governors while capitalizing on the wealth of experience that former BOG members have and improving the institutional memory of the ACC. Because governors are in their roles for several years, we hope that the efforts of the mentoring program and related leadership training opportunities help them quickly become effective leaders.
Within the BOG, we have focused on helping to grow the next generation of ACC leaders by incorporating leadership development courses and education into our weekly communications as well as our meetings. Through this expanded focus on leadership education, we as a group of chapter leaders have learned about emotional intelligence, perception, managing change, leading with authenticity, adaptability, and agility, among many other topics that typically would not be covered during our clinical education.
This is by far not the only leadership and mentoring effort underway. The College recently developed a leadership track and Leadership Academy to help identify and guide appropriate and interested individuals. The Leadership Academy was launched in January 2014 with a foundational group of 14 early-career members. The program addresses critical leadership skills needed in today’s environment, enhances leadership experience within the ACC, and provides an opportunity to advance strategic priorities of the College in such a way that also grows leadership competency and development. The fellows-in-training and early-career physicians have created mentoring programs, as have the sections within the clinical homes and communities of like-minded clinicians. The BOG has for some time also offered mentorship through our membership and council structures. Although this typically involves fellows-in-training and early-career physicians, this applies to providers of all stages in their career and all members of the cardiovascular team. Be a mentor, go to ACC.org and sign up.
The type of leadership that I have been referring to is formal; it is labeled and recognizable by title and by rank. However, there are far more leaders among us who do not bear the title of chief executive officer, president, governor, or chair. There are far more ACC members who are pushing the envelope, making things happen, and driving their chapters, committees, and councils closer to meeting the College’s mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health. I am amazed at the energy and innovation of our members who volunteer in the common goal of fostering our profession and transforming care in the interest of our patients.
Many thought leaders and business gurus have put forth definitions of leadership, but 1 definition from a Forbes piece a few years back stands above the rest. Kevin Kruse writes that “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal” (2). This is the type of leadership that is possible within ACC chapters at a grassroots level. Reflecting upon your experience in ACC chapters, can you spot the leaders? Are you one of them?
As we head into a new year, we will all begin to make resolutions. I encourage and challenge each of you to incorporate increased chapter involvement, increased leadership development, and paying it forward to the next generation of ACC leaders via mentoring into your 2016 goals. Contact your ACC chapter’s governor to inquire about how you can develop your leadership skills within the ACC or help others do so via mentoring. In this time of unprecedented change with so much uncertainty in health care delivery, I ask: how can you sit on the sideline and let others make these decisions for you? Your voice and your energy make a difference.
Who will lead the ACC or your local chapter in 2020? It may very well be someone lending their voice and vision as a local leader via an ACC chapter today.
- 2015 American College of Cardiology Foundation
- ↵GoodReads. Jack Welch quotes. Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3770.Jack_Welch. Accessed November 6, 2015.
- Kruse K.