The Opportunity of Change
Christopher L. Reeves, MS, DPM, FACFAS
“Great moments are born from great opportunity.” These are the words of Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team, prior to “The Game” against he Soviet Union. This phrase has been a driving force for me over the years and will certainly be embraced by the College in the coming year. Why?
On May 13, after a 45-year career in association management (the last 16 years as the College’s Executive Director), J.C. (Chris) Mahaffey, MS, CAE, FASAE announced his retirement effective February 28, 2020. While any leadership role has ebbs and flows, Chris has provided the stability, expertise and support that ACFAS required.
A few milestones during the past 16 years include:
- ACFAS became an independent organization Membership increased by over 2,000 foot and ankle surgeons
- Revenues and net assets more than doubled without a year-end deficit
- Annual Scientific Conference attendance tripled
- Transformation of the Board of Directors into a strategic, evidence-driven governing body
- And many new initiatives were launched, yet operational costs and staffing stayed below industry means
In his resignation letter, Chris said, “It is time for fresh leadership who can help take the College to even greater heights.” In any endeavor, change is imminent and while Chris will be missed, it is time to take this opportunity to propel ACFAS to the next level.
Executive coach Carol Kinsey states the greatest challenge for leaders is to know the difference between what must be preserved and what needs to be changed. The key is for leaders to be able to preserve an organization’s core values yet change and adapt as times require. The ACFAS Board will keep these words in mind during the process of selecting our next Executive Director.
Following our CEO Succession Plan, our first task was to select the right executive recruiting firm. Korn/Ferry leads the marketplace in high-profile CEO association/nonprofit talent acquisitions, conducting over 100 senior-level nonprofit searches in this arena in the last two years. A significant portion of these searches are in the health and life sciences arenas. The Board worked with Korn/Ferry on the desired candidate qualifications and attributes — and the search is now underway.
Next the Board selected a seven-person Search Committee who will review the candidate credentials, interview the best of them, then recommend a finalist to the Board. The Search Committee includes:
- Scott Nelson, DPM, FACFAS – Chair
- Troy Boffeli, DPM, FACFAS
- Thanh Dinh, DPM, FACFAS
- Christopher Hyer, DPM, FACFAS
- Robert Mendicino, DPM, FACFAS
- Christopher Reeves, DPM, FACFAS
- John Steinberg, DPM, FACFAS
The plan is to approve the new CEO in November and have that individual onboard by February to ensure their presence at the 2020 Annual Scientific Conference in San Antonio.
With change comes the opportunity for creativity, innovation and improvement. Over the years, ACFAS has demonstrated an innate ability to create, adapt and always move forward. It is now time to capitalize on the opportunity presented and choose a new executive leader to support your leadership. Together we will continue to inspire excellence in every foot and ankle surgeon and change patient lives, every day, for years to come.