President's Perspective January 2020

Christopher Reeves Photo

Go Big or Go Home
Christopher L. Reeves, MS, DPM, FACFAS
ACFAS President

Wasn’t it just yesterday we were closing in on New Orleans for another record-setting Annual Scientific Conference? What a ride you have allowed me to lead! Within this column, you have permitted me to share my thoughts, ramblings and charges on our profession as I attempted to draw from real life lessons and philosophies. We have covered a lot of ground in these perspectives—persevered   through adversity in our responses to negativity from outside noise and from within our own ranks; paid it forward as leaders in foot and ankle surgery education and training; marched toward parity in our work on the combined task force and interprofessional relationships; embraced the opportunity for change with our new CEO taking the reins; ignored the noise and remained steadfast in our belief a quality standard must exist in what our patients expect in a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon, and that standard is ABFAS.

My typical approach is to “learn the lessons” but always remain forward-facing and focused. Today, however, when I sat down to write this final message, I allowed myself a few minutes of reflection. Reflection on my time as a surgeon, Board member and president of ACFAS, I am reminded of a quote by Sir Isaac Newton, “I see further, because I stand on the shoulders of giants.” Anytime a leader is stepping aside, there is often the reflective question, “are you leaving it better than you found it?” Twelve months ago, I was admittedly anxious about this question; just look at the leadership lineage before me, seventy-eight years of “leaving it better.” The law of averages was bound to catch up to me. In a few short weeks, however, the vision was clear as I quickly realized I was in fact “standing on the shoulders of giants.” I just needed to harness the energy and focus provided by the strategic plan set before us. Today with great pride and humility, and from the shoulders you have graciously allowed me to stand on, I am ready to answer the question with a resounding “YES!” Who are these “giants?” They are my friends and mentors, the laser-focused ACFAS Board of Directors, the dedicated and experienced staff members, ACFAS volunteer leaders and most importantly, YOU—the ACFAS membership who continue to push the profession forward, demand excellence and make me proud to be your colleague as an ABFAS Board-Certified Foot and Ankle Surgeon and ACFAS member.

The recent accomplishments of this organization are impressive. We often focus on big picture goals and events of the organization and forget about the tools that help members every day. I think it is important to recognize these direct member benefits, including: the new mission and vision we now use to guide our strategic compass; our expanded national public relations awareness campaigns and practice marketing tools available to help us promote who we are and what we do; and the new ACFAS OnDemand learning system on, which we can now use to earn CME. All these accomplishments, and many more, are great additions to our professional collection.

An organization is only as strong as the talents and dedication of its members and because of you, Fellowship in ACFAS is an earned privilege with a culture of excellence and care that allows its leaders to lead and puts the profession and the members as its priority. By now you know I firmly believe there is no end to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit. While we can surely sit here and discuss all of the accomplishments we have achieved, it is more important to recognize these successes are due to ACFAS being full of quality people, doing quality work getting quality results, which makes the ACFAS difference.

So, we are at the end and as retiring ACFAS Executive Director Chris Mahaffey stated in his resignation letter and is now fitting for both of us, “it is time for fresh leadership who can help your leaders take the College to even greater heights.” Thank you for the honor and privilege of leading this great organization. I am truly humbled. I am excited to pass the baton to my good friend, Dr. Scott Nelson, and admire his leadership from a new seat. With Scott at the helm of the new Board you have elected, ACFAS is in excellent hands and the sky is the limit. ACFAS and the letters FACFAS after your name mean something, take pride in that privilege and always set the standard. The time is now to take our College and the specialty of foot and ankle surgery to the next level. As Dr. Gary Jolly once said, “pick up the colors and lead.” I challenge you to attack the day, be relevant and make the ACFAS difference as proven leaders and lifelong learners that change lives every day.

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