AHRA 2019: Beginning things in Denver with a rockin’ good time

Rock and roll, inflatable instruments and choreographed dance breaks may not seem like they have much to do with radiology, but they were all present Monday, July 22, at the AHRA 2019 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Though the conference officially started on July 21, its grand opening ceremony occurred on the morning of July 22 in front of a ballroom jam-packed with attendees. Bill Algee, CRA, AHRA’s president, kicked things off with a few words about his own experience with the organization. At his first AHRA annual meeting, Algee said, he was still a new leader and trying to figure how he had gone from being a technologist one day to a coordinator the next.

“I really wasn’t prepared to be a leader,” he said. “But over the years, my involvement with the AHRA has provided me with many learning opportunities and the ability to grow. So to stand before you as president is nothing short of amazing. And if I can do it, so can anyone here.”

Algee also set aside time to thank all former AHRA past-presidents in attendance and congratulated new president-elect Jacqui Rose, MBA, CRA, and the rest of the AHRA’s board of directors. He then introduced AHRA CEO Daniel Kelsey, MBA, CAE, who took over as CEO after Ed Cronin, Jr. retired in 2018. Kelsey shared some of his long-term strategies for the organization, including focusing more on recruitment and emphasizing the importance of the CRA designation. Kelsey also wants to spread the word about AHRA and the impact its members have on patient care.

“I intend on really marketing the AHRA brand,” he said. “I’m bringing in a consultant who can help us ... prioritize marketing initiatives that ensure the AHRA brand is consistently communicated to members, non-members the public and regulators.”

The AHRA Annual Meeting Design Team was next, providing a spark of energy as it does each and every year. Led by Shelley Rene Wells, BAS, BSRT (R)(CT), the team came out with inflatable instruments and started lip-syncing to Poison’s “Nothin’ But A Good Time” as attendees were encouraged to clap and dance along.

A keynote on leadership

Keynote speaker Vince Poscente was next, sharing stories about how he went from being an amateur athlete to an Olympic speed skier in just four short years. He then transitioned to talking about the importance of recognizing defining moments in our own lives.

“We all have defining moments in our lives,” Poscente said. “My homework to you is to write out some of your own defining moments. And this serves you as a leader because, right beside each defining moment is a decision that you made. A list of those moments begins to reveal the types of decisions that aren’t working for you—and the types that are.”

Another key point of Poscente’s presentation was that leaders can’t always wait around for an opportunity to arise. If you only push forward and do great work when your back is against the wall, for instance, you’re wasting a whole lot of time doing the minimum at times when your back isn’t against the wall.

“A funny thing about the human condition is that we have to get uncomfortable before we change,” he said. “That’s when we change, that’s when something different starts to play out. But why wait?”

Poscente also played footage from throughout his skiing career and set time aside to lead the crowd through his own personal “happy dance.” But things always returned to the topic of leadership and what it takes to make an impact on the very people you are supposed to be leading.

One concept he returned to again and again, for example, was the “emotional buzz” one feels when they truly feel passionate about something. Such a buzz is contagious, Poscente pointed out, and it can change those around you. He once spent thousands of dollars on fish and aquarium supplies, he said, in part because the person selling the fish and equipment was clearly passionate about his job. That passion spread to Poscente and, before he knew it, he was making a significant purchase.

“What if, everywhere we went, the product or service being sold was purveyed with that same sort of emotional buzz?” he asked. It would make quite the impression, he said, and it’s something leaders—including those in radiology—should keep in mind. When employees or patients walk through your doors, you want them to feel how passionate you are about your job, and you want that passion to catch on.