Jill Burrington-Brown, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA
At one of our Board meetings, we discussed why we were members of WSHIMA—What were the reasons we became active in this association? All of us had stories about being a WSHIMA member. I’ll tell you mine.
I started out with working on the Bylaws committee, of all things. It was actually a year with a lot of changes, and a call went out for someone to stay on top of the changes. I raised my hand, and started meeting some phenomenal people. I was elected as a Delegate the next year, and was fortunate to go to my first National Convention in New Orleans, LA. I should have had more experience, because I hardly said two words that convention (those of you who know me well probably don’t believe that!). But I got to know and learn from Mary Jo Callahan and Sue Stubbs, fellow delegates. Being a delegate for two years gave me the courage to run for Treasurer, and it was during that term that I understood the value of networking. One of my new friends recommended me for a position as an HIM Director and I got the job!
What I want you to know about WSHIMA is that you get so much more than what you put in. This HIM community is very generous with sharing their knowledge. What that means to me is that I had access to experts whenever I needed work advice because I had already worked along side them in association business. When I needed better productivity models, I had several people I could ask. When I had a difficult situation, someone else had already been there and could help me navigate it.
I became President of WSHIMA in 1990. That was over 25 years ago, but I still remember the terrific opportunities I had that year. I went to my first Hill Day in Washington D.C., and opened the AHIMA National Convention in Seattle that year. I met people I consider to be lifetime friends as well as colleagues.
I now have more working years behind me than in front of me, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Did I always have the money for dues? No, there were plenty of years I had to scrimp to come up with it or pay off my credit card. Did I ever wonder if it was worth it? Sure! But I could always point to something that I would have missed if I hadn’t been a member:
- The jobs I’ve held throughout the years have nearly all been because I knew someone in WSHIMA.
- I learned how to mentor by having wonderful mentors in WSHIMA.
- I learned to be brave and do public speaking because of WSHIMA.
- I learned to be brave and talk to state and federal legislators because of WSHIMA.
- I learned to be brave and ask for a “seat at the table” because of WSHIMA.
- Learning to be brave gave me confidence. That’s because of WSHIMA.
Being active in WSHIMA means volunteering for whatever you have the capacity for at the moment. Not all things that need doing are long-term commitments. Come and join us! Learn what you need to learn! Start by coming to our annual meeting in April. I’ll be at the registration desk most of the time. Stop and say hello. I’ll be happy to meet you.