Reflection on the first 100 days as CEO of DC
Date: October 26, 2021
Unlocking Dietetics is a new monthly series from Alexis Williams, CEO of Dietitians of Canada. It will explore issues important to dietitians and actions taking place across the association. An excerpt will be published each month in Your Weekly Update, with the full article available at www.dietitians.ca/UnlockingDietetics.
October brings cooler temperatures and beautiful fall colours across Canada. It also marks the first 100 days in my role as CEO at Dietitians of Canada (DC). The first three months in any role are important for setting the foundation for the future. In this month’s Unlocking Dietetics blog, I’ll be reflecting on what I have learned so far and sharing my top priorities going forward.
To start, I made it my priority to get to know the DC staff, the Board of Directors, DC members and the many stakeholders that DC collaborates with. I’ve been able to dig into the details of DC’s strategic plan
and learn about the important work the association is doing on key priorities for dietitians.
The past six months have been a time of reflection and change for many individuals
across all sectors to seek and take on new opportunities and challenges. The staff at DC has not been immune to this phenomenon, and over the summer months we saw the departure of three experienced colleagues (and dietitians) move on to new growth and career opportunities. While we were sad to see them go, this situation has offered me the opportunity to refocus resources and reevaluate key association activities, with member value and benefit at the forefront of these decisions.
Breathing new life into the DC Awards Program
One key recent decision has been to pause the DC member awards program for 2022. We know DC members value the opportunity to recognize their peers for their hard work and excellence, however it is time for this program to modernize and elevate its relevance to all dietitians. During the next year, we will seek a team of members (supported by DC staff) to reevaluate the awards program to make sure it is sustainable, inclusive and continues to celebrate members’ career success.
Progress on the Strategic Plan
DC’s strategic plan
outlines how the association will spend its resources and energy looking towards 2024. Some of the key areas I’ve been focusing on as the new CEO include:
- Creating a diverse and inclusive community: In early October I will begin to work with HRx, an equity, diversity and inclusion consultant firm. This team comes with vast experience, including past work with dietitians and other health professions. I have also been in discussions with Teri Morrow (chair of the IN-KIN network) and Lynn Blackwood (Board director for the Atlantic Region), regarding how DC can continue to strive and progress towards Truth and Reconciliation.
- The national voice of dietitians. Advocacy to the government on behalf of the profession is a very important part of DC’s work and there’s a lot going on (sometimes quite slowly!) behind the scenes:
- Recently, I worked with both the Gerontology Network and also through our membership in HEAL to submit input on the national long-term care standards.
- I’m also working with Jen House, chair of the Consulting Dietitians Network, to engage members to take action on the issue of provincial cross border practice and increase Canadians’ access to virtual dietitian services. To read the letters and learn more about how you can take action on this matter, please visit here.
- Over the coming weeks, I will be reengaging on the employee health benefits issue and supporting the Employee Health Benefits Advocacy advisory group to identify the next action towards increasing insurance coverage for dietitians. This is an area of personal passion for me after spending time in the fee-for-service dietetics world.
- Ensuring the sustainability of the association: I’ve been engaging with members, non-members and students to learn more about what they want and value from DC. Membership growth is vital to a strong and vibrant professional community. Share with your colleagues what you value from DC. And don’t forget that for every new or lapsed member that you refer , receive a $50 refund on your DC membership (or you can share the benefit with the new member).
There is still a lot to learn and I look forward to hearing from you about what’s important or on your mind. You can reach out to me with questions, feedback or ideas at CEO@dietitians.ca
If getting more involved in DC in a leadership capacity to help influence and shape the profession for the future is something that you have considered, please note that there are two Board director positions
opening in 2022. You can learn more about those positions and the role of the Board here