Author Archives: Stacy Brungardt

Day in the Life: My Visit With OHSU and STFM’s President-Elect

Stacy Brungardt, CAE STFM Executive Director

Stacy Brungardt,
STFM Executive Director

Most of you will not have the opportunity to serve on the staff of an amazing nonprofit organization like STFM. This is the first of a new blog series that will highlight some behind-the-scenes work at our staff offices and with our members to transform health care through education.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

10:35 am PT
Hello Portland, Oregon! Picked up by STFM President-Elect John Saultz, MD, at the airport. (Pretty nice to have the incoming president meet me at the airport!) Great lunch at Mother’s—I highly recommend the pulled pork sandwich and homemade rolls. A brief Oregon Health and Sciences University tour set the tone for good conversations throughout the day. This visit had dual purposes: for John and me to discuss our STFM work for the upcoming year and for me to see and hear some of the amazing work going on in the Oregon family medicine department.

1–3 pm       
Met with John. This is where John and I began the first of several conversations about how we’re going to work together to move the strategic plan forward using his specific talents and interest. Getting a glimpse of members’ offices is a side benefit that shares insight into a person’s personality.

3–4 pm    
Met with first-year family medicine residents. This was a treat. I meet a lot of faculty but don’t get to interact with residents very often. This group of bright doctors was willing to share their thoughts about teaching and how they see themselves (or don’t) in this role. Thank you for your time and candor.

4–4:15 pm 
Surprise visit with second-year resident Laurel Witt, MD. I coached Laurel when she played for Power Angle Juniors, her high school volleyball club team. What a pleasure to reconnect after all these years. I’m still proud to have been a part of her life.

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New Year’s R̶̶e̶̶s̶̶o̶̶l̶̶u̶̶t̶̶i̶̶o̶̶n̶̶s̶ Goals for 2013

Stacy Brungardt, CAE STFM Executive Director

Stacy Brungardt
STFM Executive Director

I’ve never been a huge fan of making New Year’s resolutions. It’s always seemed sort of an unstructured way of attacking something you want to change. However, I’m a big fan of goal setting. Yes, I recognize the obvious overlap, but for the sake of my own internal comfort, I’ll call these New Year’s goals for 2013.

I’m also a big fan of lists having three things. A list of three seems manageable—not too long, not too short. So here goes.

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Governance, What If…

Stacy Brungardt, CAE STFM Executive Director

Imagine an organization where an individual who works in academic family medicine knows where to turn to get his/her problems solved.

Imagine that this disciplined organization aligns products with its mission, uses data-driven strategies, and focuses on members’ needs. This organization is highly functioning and nurtures an inclusive culture that engages in dialogue between members and leaders.

Imagine an organization with sufficient resources to do its work. This organization is agile, proactively addresses issues, assesses and takes action quickly, and makes course corrections as necessary.

Imagine an organization that pursues alliances that relate to existing strategies or that form a tight fit with its mission and purpose. It is selective about determining with whom they should partner to be as effective as possible.

Imagine what we could accomplish if STFM operated like this all the time.

I do imagine this and believe there are literally hundreds of members and staff who are helping us move toward this vision.

I also believe that a strong governance structure either moves you in this direction or provides barriers that staff and members sidestep or hurdle, slowing down progress toward our vision.

Yes, good governance matters. Simply put, governance is the way decisions are made, who makes them, and under what parameters.1

Good governance can make the difference between the Society moving forward or not. It can demonstrate inclusiveness and be accountable for actions, or it can waste time and resources of the organization. By the way, we spend a lot on governance when you consider member time and STFM dollars to support Board, committee, and task force meetings and the staff time to manage these groups.

The STFM Board recently reflected on series of events related to our governance structure that have caused us to consider the best way to approach these issues.

The Board saw a convergence of activities and agreed that we would benefit from taking a more systematic approach to our governance assessment rather than trying to address each of these issues separately. We recognized the risk of each of these groups making separate recommendations that weren’t coordinated or in alignment. In fact, experts in association governance would tell you that groups who approach governance assessment elements in a piecemeal fashion generally struggle and are less happy with their outcomes than groups that approach this assessment in a way that starts globally with how the model assists their organization in meeting its desired ends.

Thus, the Board approved bringing in an outside consultant to facilitate this process of reviewing our governance structure. We will be working with governance consultant Michael Gallery, PhD, a well-respected association management professional who chaired the task force that created 7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don’t. This landmark research in association management applied the work of Jim Collin’s Good to Great to association management. Dr Gallery understands medical associations and association governance. (He also comes highly recommended and is affordably priced!)

What I like about his process is that he starts with the end in mind and includes operational elements such as obtaining member input, creating a communications plan for stakeholders, and evaluating any new structure we would create.

I don’t think we’re doing a bad job at governing the Society, but we haven’t taken an in-depth look at our governance structure since we created STFM in 1967. Until you spend some time thinking about what outstanding governance performance looks like, how our current structure compares, and how to address the gaps, we are likely not reaching our potential as an organization.

What if…

  1. Gallery M. Governance: a new approach to an old problem. Session presented at the American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX, August, 2012.