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M.Ed., R.T. (R)
Fellow LSRT Members,
As I deliver this speech, I want you to know that it was two long years in the making. I have thought about and planned what I would like to say in this moment many times. However, in the last days of writing this speech, I found that I really wanted to convey one thing. So before I lose your attention, I have something important to tell you: There’s nothing special about me.
Yes, I stand here in front of you as a representative of the Louisiana State Society, and I am telling you that there is nothing special about me. I know what you’re thinking, as the newly inducted president, shouldn’t I be trying to sell myself to you? But I have an important point to make: that you, too, can be where I am and accomplish the things that I have accomplished.
I remember vividly the moment my journey as an active member of a radiologic technology society began. I had applied for the ASRT Student Leadership Development Program which was in its early years at the time. I had to get a letter signed by my program director with permission to attend, so my program director, Mr. Brett Bennett, was aware that I had applied. I was sitting in his riveting physics class taking notes on the computer when an email notification appeared at the bottom of my screen from ASRT. I opened the email and realized that it was an acceptance letter! I had been accepted to attend the ASRT Student Leadership Program and to go to their annual conference in Las Vegas! I could barely hold in my excitement. I waited as patiently as I could for Mr. Bennett to finish his lecture so that I could tell him. I imagined how excited he would be. When the lecture finished, I immediately called him over and showed him the letter on my computer. After reading my screen, his response was a surprise – “Really?”. Believe me, I was just as surprised as he was.
This was because I wasn’t the smartest or most talented student in the class, and although I worked hard, I was young and a single mother of a then 2-year-old. There were a lot of statistics working against me in those days. Since then, I’ve accumulated a formidable resume which, to me, is a testament of my willpower and perseverance, not of any gifts or natural-born talents.
This is why I am still telling you that there is nothing special about me. There is nothing that I have which any one of you do not possess. I have no superpowers nor do I have the mind of Albert Einstein. In fact, even Einstein is quoted as saying “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” And people with great passion or desire can make incredible things happen.
However, because no one succeeds alone, I would be remiss not to mention those that have helped me along the way. Most of which are in this room tonight, and who I would like to thank personally:
- Mrs. Carmen George for guiding me through my very first leadership position as the Student Advisory Council Chairperson
- Mrs. Jaclyn Peters for trusting me first and giving me my start in teaching
- Mr. Brett Bennett for being an amazing boss, my sounding board, and for your wealth of advice
- Dr. Andy Allen for being himself always, for being the chair of my cold-water committee and my mentor, and for encouraging me to apply for leadership positions
- And Dr. Greg Bradley, Susie Beasley, Barbie Landry, Alyssa Bell, Melissa Whitley, Dr. Tammy Curtis, Dr. Laura Aaron, and Dr. Joel Hicks for providing your experience and expertise each and every time I’ve needed it.
Last, I of course want to thank my family: my husband and three daughters who have allowed me to serve the board and take time away from them, my parents who gave me the motivation to pursue my goals, and my grandparents who have always believed in me no matter the barriers I faced.
The LSRT and the ASRT have provided me with so many opportunities throughout my career thus far, such as the ASRT SLDP mentioned earlier, Student Advisory Council where I served as chair, committee service, and now serving on the executive board. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am as a professional without these organizations and those who serve them. If you have served the ASRT or the LSRT in any capacity, through the board, through committee service, as part of a local committee, or as sponsors of our events, I want to you for your service to the profession and to our society because without your willingness to devote your time and funds, our organizations would cease to exist.
Now, I would like to share with you my goals for the LSRT for the coming year. I want this year to be as productive as possible, and I intend to initiate plans for these goals immediately.
- First, I would like to develop a well-thought-out strategic plan for the LSRT which includes methods to assess our current projects and events. Through this plan, my ambition is to grow the organization and its membership so that we can better represent and serve our Louisiana radiologic technologists.
- Next, I intend to develop our public relations with the membership. This will be accomplished through our newsletters and social media to include regular updates and acknowledgments of our members and their amazing accomplishments.
- Last, I intend to keep the membership informed about legislative issues which may affect our profession and encroachment from other professions which is a growing problem for us currently.
As I was writing the ending of this speech, it was Shark Week on National Geographic. I was watching one of the shows, and you could see the sharks swimming circles on the screen around the people filming. They were circling and waiting for a good opportunity to take a bite out of their prey or the bait the divers were using. This made me think of the current issues we’re facing regarding encroachment and some of the policies being made by our legislators and other parties… They’re the sharks circling and, unfortunately, like it or not, we’re the prey.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy. I won’t be one of those divers you see swimming with the sharks. If you put me down in some shark-infested waters, I want a good, strong, sturdy cage to protect me from those sharks. That’s what the ASRT and LSRT do for you. They’re the cage. They serve to protect Radiologic Technologists and our profession from the sharks who want to take a bite out of us.
But here’s the thing, the cage can’t have holes in it. It can’t be weak. Otherwise, it can provide little protection. The cage needs to be strong with lots of thick wire and bars on it for it to be effective. Each member represents a piece of that cage, and each member makes that cage stronger and more able to withstand the inevitable shark attacks.
The LSRT is not a place, or an entity, or a group for a select, elite few. The LSRT is all of us; it is its members. Without you, its members, the organization does not exist. For these reasons, and now more than ever, I cannot stress enough to you how important it is for you to become a member and stay a member of your societies.
Now, I’ll end with a last request: Give back to this profession… The profession which has given or will give you a career and fulfillment. The profession which we have each fallen in love with in some way and for some reason. I would be glad to have you serve the LSRT in any capacity and become a part of this amazing team. I am currently looking for members to serve on committees for the coming year. If you would like to volunteer or help the LSRT in the coming year, please feel free to contact me. Maybe you’re great with social media, you can draw, you are good with numbers, you know computers, or you just have a friendly smile. In any case, remember: You don’t need to have anything special, only a desire to serve and willingness to put forth the effort.
Rebecca Hamm, M.Ed., R.T. (R)