Paying it Forward: Communications Committee on the Move
By Jackie Judd, CCS
MaHIMA Communications Director 2014-2016, 2016-2018

The Communications Committee had a great year full of innovation and creativity! Last summer the committee had special in-person meetings to brainstorm ideas on how to address some of our biggest challenges … member and student engagement and how to communicate with and get them more involved. Out of these meetings emerged two big initiatives: Stay Connected, the blog you’re reading right now and the Student Concierge Program. The committee is proud to say that both projects have been a huge success!

We have involved members and students through various articles in the blog including Member Spotlights, Student Profiles, Meet the Speaker, special contributions and Coding Tips.

We had our first ever Student Concierge Program with three Fisher College students participating at the Annual Conference. In exchange for their volunteer time, they received free registration, matching shirts, and invaluable networking with future colleagues. Thanks to all the members in attendance that took the time to speak with them! This is just the beginning of more effective student participation. We must remember that we need them as much as they need us to sustain the Association in the future!

So, what made it work? We knew that in order to engage our members, we needed to first engage our volunteers. This included teamwork, more fun for our volunteers, flexibility on how they contribute, and re-engineering the organizational function to adapt to changes in our industry. To achieve these goals, we participated in cross-collaboration of multiple MaHIMA Committees to support and promote their activities, we had fun parties to celebrate one another’s successes in MaHIMA, as well as professional and personal growth. In case you didn’t know, Communications is the Fun Committee!

These initiatives could not have been a success without our committee volunteers! A very special thank you to Susan Pepple for coming back this year as our Editor and helping to get Stay Connected off the ground; Lori McNeil Tolley, MaHIMA Member-at-Large for putting together our IG Corner and participating in a MaHIMA webinar on member engagement; Ellen Vaitkunas, Nominating Committee Chair for cross-collaboration and proofreading, no matter what crazy hour of the day; Joy Rose, Education Director for cross-collaboration and tons of laughs; Donna Casey, MaHIMA Archivist for advice and guidance; Srdjan Perisic for article contributions and leadership; Martha Hamel for editing the Connect Newsletter for the past four years; Zee Shuaib and Mariann Smith for managing all the emails; Karen Grant, outgoing MaHIMA Past-President, while not officially part of the committee, always supporting our efforts; and last, but never least, Marianne Garfi, 2018 MaHIMA Champion Award Winner and your new Director of Communications, for everything else, and generally just making sense of it all!

As of July 1st, I will be handing over the email address to Marianne. She will be working to polish the blog and increase social media presence as well as continue student outreach. Feel free to drop her a line with ideas for the blog, Member Spotlights and interest in joining the committee. I’m sure she would love to hear from you!

As for me … It has been my pleasure to serve the MaHIMA membership as Director of Communications. Over the course of my two terms, I’ve made lasting friendships that I am truly grateful for. My message is to always conduct yourself with the highest level of integrity, keep your passion for the profession, and remember to always pay it forward. We all had mentors that guided us to achieve career success. Continue to pay it forward and good things will come your way!