Two Outgoing Board Members Share What It's Been Like to Represent You
CPA’s Board of Directors is the governing body of the Association. It is the Board’s job to ensure that CPA fulfills its mission to advance the profession of physiotherapy in order to improve the health of Canadians. As a CPA member, you choose who serves on the Board, so it is helpful to know what Directors do, and how they make decisions on your behalf.
Two of CPA’s stellar Board directors have completed their terms and are stepping down. We want you to get to know about little more about Doug Treloar (former CPA president) and Jennifer Burt (former President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Physiotherapy Association).
Maybe it will spark your interest in running for a CPA future Board position.
1. What was the most unexpected part of your role on the Board?
Doug: On ending of my term on the Board, I leave with the sense that I’ve completed a four-year degree in Board governance; a level of education that I would never have dreamed.
Jennifer: The eye-opener for me was the learning curve of being part of a governing board for a national association. There was so much I didn’t know about the profession with regards to how CPA works and all of its components.
I had come from a working board, so having staff support for projects allowed the board to focus on setting the strategic direction for the profession. The national staff and existing directors were amazing and made me feel right at home as I learned the ropes.
2. Why did you decide to volunteer your time on the Board?
Doug: To fulfill a personal commitment to my profession and the Association. CPA defines, enriches and leads our profession. It’s been exciting to be a part of that process.
Jennifer: Throughout my career I’ve been a strong advocate for the profession and for CPA. A willingness to become involved in the professional association was instilled in me by my mentors, Karen Hurtubise (previous CPA president) and Lorie Paterson (previous CPA board director), who offered me the opportunity and support in taking on the challenge of the presidency of the Newfoundland and Labrador Physiotherapy Association (NLPA) in 2007.
The rest is history as I became a CPA board director in 2010 when Congress was in my home town of St. John’s, NL. This was the natural progression along my professional journey. I had just completed my term as president of the NLPA, and the CPA board was looking for representation from the Atlantic provinces.
Being a board director has provided a great opportunity to serve the members, the Association, and the profession by being involved at the level of policymaking and governance.
3. What has been your favourite part of being on the Board?
Doug: Having the pleasure of working with a number of dedicated individuals who are visionaries and high-level thinkers. I also enjoyed interacting with volunteer leaders, both nationally and internationally.
Jennifer: My favourite part has been the friendships and conversations over the last six years, under the leadership of four very dynamic presidents. The people have been truly wonderful and it has been a pleasure to be a part of the Association.
The Board and national staff become like family as we meet several times throughout the year and learn about each other from our professional to personal life. The national staff does an amazing job of supporting the board! Thank you.
More importantly, it has been a privilege to represent the membership as a Board member for six years serving as a voice for Atlantic Canada.
My knowledge of the profession continues to grow at every board meeting. New topics are arising within the profession as we move forward in an ever-changing health care system.
Learning the workings of a governing board has been beneficial to improve my knowledge base of the same and to provide a skill set that has facilitated my role with the Arthritis Health Professions Association Board.
4. What’s your least favourite part about being on the Board?
Doug: There were truly no negative aspects to being on the CPA board. However, living in a city without air service made travel somewhat challenging.
Jennifer: Overall, all aspects of the board have provided learning experiences for personal growth.
The amount of meeting material can be overwhelming, but there is always ample time to prepare and review before the discussions.
As Chair of the Finance Committee, presenting the financial report to the membership was a little stressful, but, thanks to the staff, it was always well prepared and made easy to present.
Having difficult conversations at the board level can make decisions challenging in getting a consensus to go forward as CPA sets the strategic direction and vision for the Association.
5. What have you learned about physiotherapy from being on the Board?
Doug: I have learned firsthand how fortunate we are as physiotherapists in Canada to have the level of education that we currently have – certainly the envy of other countries. I have learned that there are numerous challenges facing our profession. These challenges are diverse with unique issues that vary over time and by province.
Jennifer: Three things come to mind:
- The importance of having a common vision representing the profession both nationally and provincially. Advocacy for the profession is very complex and must be approached on several levels to be effective. The grassroots in each province are an important part of the national association and are essential to delivering the vision.
- The importance of the Association to advocate for the profession and, more importantly, serve the membership, to ensure it becomes indispensable!
- The importance of being able to support evidence-based practice for the profession of physiotherapy. FOTO has been a huge step forward and hopefully will succeed for the profession.
6. Why should members consider joining the Board at some point in their career?
Doug: It allows one to see the true breadth and scope of profession and association at a national level. Being on the board provides a unique opportunity to develop governance skills.
Jennifer: It is a rewarding experience to be part of a national board.
I strongly believe that getting involved with the CPA and helping where your skills allow is important to the profession to allow a strong association to move forward, acting as the voice for all Canadian physiotherapists.
Strength in numbers is crucial, as public and decision makers need to know what we do and how we can improve health care.
I believe it is important for members to be engaged and be a part of shaping their profession as we go forward. The board is their opportunity to do that!
7. What else should we know about being on the Board?
Doug: It is, unequivocally, an opportunity of a lifetime!!
Jennifer: It is a great opportunity to meet a diverse group of individuals from across the country all working towards a common goal of being the voice of physiotherapists.
The relationships and contacts I have built over the last six years have been well worth it and will be missed.
On behalf of everyone, the CPA team would like to thank Jennifer and Doug for investing their time, dedication, and leadership to the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. We appreciate it!