Audiology Advisory Council Candidate Statements
Why are you seeking Advisory Council election? What related experience and/or qualifications do you have relative to the Advisory council position?
Kalyani N. Mandke
Role of advisory council would be to give inputs to ASHA board of directors about existing issues, and directions in future planning. As an international
member I would be able to make submission about audiology profession in the developing countries such as India.
ASHA's one of the objectives in Strategic pathway to Excellence is to enhance international engagement. As the member of ASHA and representative of the
east world I shall be able to address certain issues of cultural diversity, developing dialogue with the international professionals, and may suggest some
ideas towards exchange programs which may facilitate to raise the professional stds in the developing countries.
I strongly believe in volunteer services for our profession. These services can be rendered in different areas such as community based rehabilitation,
service delivery model for end users and to strengthen our profession's activity and create the stds. Serving for the association would be the major
contribution towards our profession. Service to various associations may help to develop some policies, document certain stds such as scope of practice, or
position papers. Develop the dialogue with the government organizations, etc. I am happy to say that I have contributed significantly in these areas.
I have been serving in different capacities in two organizations namely Indian Speech and Hearing Association, and Cochlear Implant Group of India
(National Body). For both the organizations I have climbed the steps from the entry level as member of the executive council and moved on the ladder to the
I am a developer, good negotiator, excellent communicator. I am sure I will be able to bring my 15 years of rich experience to ASHA while serving in the
Donald M. Goldberg
A dually-certified ASHA member, I have observed with sadness, the fractionalization of some of our Audiology colleagues due to the relationship between AAA
and ASHA. As an ASHA member in that small segment of dually-certified members -- I am also saddened to see the reduced emphasis on auditory rehabilitation
in our professions. These two realities have been the impetus to run for the Advisory Council. Not to play Switzerland, per se, but to at least be a
positive change agent for the good of the two professions.
I come to this nomination as the Past President of the AG Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, a Past President of the AG Bell Academy, and a
Past President of the National Academy of Preprofessional Programs (NAPP); and look back to my earlier professional career to again become an ASHA
volunteer leader. Additional experiences include membership on the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) and the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH).
These leadership and professional roles and their respective responsibilities, have helped shape and prepare me for continued professional opportunities.
As a Professor at an undergraduate-only program teaching students who often decide to apply to Master's programs in SLP or Au.D programs, I continue to be
in a key position to train and hopefully inspire future ASHA members. Coupled with my continued clinical duties working with infants and toddlers at the
Hearing Implant/Cochlear Implant Program at Cleveland Clinic, I have never left my clinical roots.
- Immediate Past President of the AG Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Past President of the AG Bell Academy of Listening and Spoken Language
- Past President of the National Academy of Preprofessional Programs (NAPP) (2002-2003)
- Past Coordinator of the original Special Interest Division 9 -- Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood Steering Committee Member, and then
- ASHA Audiology Subject Matter Expert Panelist (2007)
- ASHA Task Force on Food and Drug Administration Regulations Related to Hearing Aids (1991)
- Chair, ASHA Committee on Aural Rehabilitation (1989-1990)
- Member, ASHA Committee on Aural Rehabilitation (1988)
- Member, Joint Committee of ASHA and Council on Education of the Deaf (1993-1995)
- Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology, Treasurer (1992-1995)
- Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology, Finance Committee Chair (1993-1995)
Finally, I am a listener and doer. I sincerely look forward to utilizing my years of clinical, academic, and research experiences to the job and
responsibilities related to being on the ASHA Council, representing the area of Audiology.
I have been a member of ASHA for 32 years now and felt this was a good time in my career to serve the association at the national level. Over the years, I
have held leadership roles within our state association, Oklahoma Speech Language Hearing Association, most recently President of the association in 2013.
I also served as Council - at - large connecting our members with our state association and through that have heard concerns of our members so I feel that
this experience has paved the way for me to serve within this capacity, Audiology Council position, I would find it an honor to be nominated for this at
this point in my career and would put all my energy into this that I could to serve our members well.
I have always appreciated what ASHA and Oklahoma have done for me through my career and I feel it is time for me to pay back and serve ASHA and our members
in this position.
I have served as President of our state association so have had the opportunity to serve in a very important leadership role and to work with many
colleagues across the state. I have been a member of CSAP and worked with other states at the national level.
I also sit on and facilitate subcommittees within our Oklahoma Audiology Task Force which consists of many different providers and families across the
state of Oklahoma, i.e. audiologists, speech-language pathologists, deaf educators, nurses, physicians, families so this experience has helped me develop
skills and the respect of my colleagues in the state of Oklahoma. To me, this is imperative to serve in the capacity of Audiology Advisory Council. I am
the audiology consultant for the Oklahoma Newborn Hearing Screening Program so working with many different providers across the state in this position has
also allowed me to partner with other state audiologists and speech-language pathologists at the national level within the Early Hearing Detection and
Intervention (EHDI) program.
I have served on the AAC for the past two years. During these two years, I have come to understand the importance of the AAC, especially as it relates to
the critical issues currently facing the profession of audiology. In addition, governmental advocacy on behalf of audiology is vital as well. Audiology
continues to need a strong voice in ASHA particularly because our allegiances in the profession are split between ASHA and a variety of other associations.
I earnestly want to make a difference for the profession of audiology by being an advocate and by serving ASHA. I know that my participation in the AAC can
make that difference.
As aforementioned, I have already served one term on the AAC and was elected Vice-Chair for 2016. My experience as a state association officer in several
states as well as a licensure board chairperson will benefit me as an AAC member.
Lyndsay A. Duffus
I am seeking Advisory Council election so that I may be an integral part of how the audiology profession is represented in this large organization. As the
audiology profession changes and grows in the future, it will be important that ASHA stays up-to-date with the concerns of the audiologists seeing patients
every day. Those audiologists who are 'on the ground' look up to the national organizations for guidance in how they should practice, how they should deal
with ethical issues, etc. I would feel honored to play a role in ensuring that my fellow audiologists have their voices heard in the near future and
Also, as a pediatric audiologist who worked closely with speech-language pathologists every day, I feel it is important that the pediatric voice is heard
at a national level, especially when policies are being made that impact all in our profession.
I am currently the Chair of the Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, the licensing entity in the State of Oregon. I feel that my
experience on that Board has prepared me to work collaboratively with other professionals, but also act as a leader and organizer. I often have to listen
to the ideas of my fellow board members and then determine a course of action based on that, taking everyone's concerns into consideration. Also, we are
often called upon to determine if a speech-language pathologist or audiologist is practicing within their scope of practice and ASHA has been a guiding
light in helping us in this respect.
I also serve on the Oregon Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Executive Board, both as an Audiology representative and VP of Finance. My service on this
local board has prepared me to be an advocate for our profession, both in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The passion I see from my colleagues on
this board always amazes me.
I served in the Legislative Council when it was part of the governance and have stayed abreast of many critical professional issues.
I've served as a Program Director in a CAA-accredited program, CAA site visitor, CFCC member, BOE member, and CCSR member. I also teach a graduate course
in Professional Issues.
I am seeking Audiology Advisory Council (AC) election to actively engage in implementing the Association's mission as a young professional. I would like to
collaborate with audiologists from across the country to change policy and advocate for our profession. This opportunity will allow me to be the voice of
audiologist in South Carolina and the families we serve. I look forward to serving as an Audiology AC member to devise strategies and initiatives that will
positively impact our practice policy, reimbursement and patient outcomes.
I have served on various work related and community committees such as graduate admissions committee (chair), grade appeals committee, multidisciplinary
research team, etc. Serving on these committees requires active listen skills, respond appropriately and agreeably disagree with others. Audiology is
facing many challenges (e.g. websites purporting to diagnose hearing loss to recent legislation that will adversely affect services). I am an enthusiastic
professional with sense of duty to serve the profession just as I served our country in the U.S. Army Reserves. Since graduation from the AuD program at
the University of Louisville, I have practiced as a clinical audiologist (7 years) and an assistant professor of audiology at South Carolina State
University (4 years) where I am project director on a grant to assess the hearing conservation of farmers in rural South Carolina.
I have several years of experience in leadership roles at the state level, and through those roles I have been able to promote positive change for various
organizations. Involvement in ASHA Advisory Council would allow me to be involved in decision-making for a larger scale organization with viewpoints from a
state with unique circumstances in some areas. I believe I have good ideas, am vocal, and am willing to work closely with my peers to facilitate improved
outcomes for ASHA. My involvement on previous other advisory boards as well as my experience as a clinician in South Carolina make me more than qualified
to serve on the Advisory Board.
I have served on all three cochlear implant manufacturer Audiology Advisory Boards. I am currently on the SC Academy of Audiology Board. I am past
President of SC AG Bell Chapter and served on their Board for 2 years prior. I also hold seats on the First Sound Advisory Council (SC infant screening
program) and the MUSC Faculty Senate.
Jessica J. Messersmith
I desire to continue serving my state and profession. Based upon my experience, training, and personal abilities, I believe I would serve my state and
profession well in the role of Advisory Council member.
I have served as president-elect, president, and past president of the South Dakota Speech Language and Hearing Association (SDSLHA). During my tenure with
SDSLHA, the advocacy and legislative efforts of our state organization dramatically increased over previous years. We held, as we had in previous years, a
professional awareness day at the state capitol, but in addition myself and other members of the organization discussed and testified at the hearings for
legislative initiatives related to the professions of audiology and speech language pathology. In addition to my advocacy efforts, I undertake
opportunities to further my personal and professional development. For example, I was elected to and took part in the ASHA Leadership Development in Health
Care 2014 cohort. I have also published in the areas of legislation related to early hearing loss detection and intervention (EHDI) and the Affordable Care
Act (ACA). Finally, my position as clinician, researcher, and university instructor has allowed me to hone skills in communicating with individuals across
personal, professional, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I am able to convey my knowledge at an appropriate level and in an appropriate manner, while being
able to listen to other points of view and modify my beliefs as needed.
As the current Audiology Advisory Council member for South Dakota, I feel that my work is not yet complete and I need to continue my participation at the
national level in order to promote and drive further development for the profession of audiology. With the experience I now hold through my current term, I
can continue to provide guidance for the appropriate direction I feel ASHA needs to move to continue to build and strengthen the practice of Audiology. I
think I provide a unique perspective as a somewhat "hybrid" professional, working in a rural area in which we delve into several audiology specialties,
including occupational audiology and hearing conservation, diagnostic audiology from birth to geriatrics (i.e., behavioral and electrophysiological),
amplification, and tinnitus evaluations and management. In addition, I feel the advisory council needs to maintain a diverse population and I can provide
guidance from the younger generation's perspective as well as the different specialties I delve into as a rural clinic professional.
I currently hold the position of South Dakota's Audiology Advisory Council representative and am seeking a second term. I also have been active in our
state's association as a board member.
As stated in question #1, I feel I can provide a unique perspective for the interest of various audiology specialties. With the rural aspect to our current
practice, I feel I can represent the interests of audiologists in private practice who must deal with issues relating to competition of big box companies,
insurance reimbursement, and telepractice related topics which are all very relevant to current issues audiologists are facing.
In the past couple years, I was also active in legislative measures to expand coverage for hearing aids and related services to children across South
I am an audiologist who's been practicing for over 25 years and have seen a lot of changes in that time. Being on the Audiology Advisory Council in the
past made an impact in my professional life, providing a great education in how government works, what's involved in gaining support for our services, and
keeping up with changes in healthcare that affect audiology and speech pathology services. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to provide input to ASHA
that helps them plan for our future. As a member of my state audiology and speech-language pathology organizations, I am able to bring this information
back to share with other audiologists in our state, as well as the students I supervise, encouraging them to get involved in our profession on a national
level and why that's important. In addition, I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn and connect with other professionals in our field from across the
country. I would be honored to serve as the Tennessee AAC representative.
I have been on the Audiology Advisory Council in the past, and gained a lot of experience in speaking with legislators about our concerns/issues. I am, and
have been, active in my state audiology association and our state audiology and speech-language pathology association. For my state organizations I have
been Secretary/Treasurer for several terms, assist in our convention planning and management, and have been active in working with our lobbyist on state
legislation. I am also involved as a site visitor with the Council on Academic Accreditation. With these experiences, I feel I have grown in my ability to
communicate effectively with others and become more aware of legislative issues regarding our field.
I truly enjoy teaming with others to address problems and make change. As a clinical faculty member at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, I
have had the opportunity to be involved in many such tasks. I regularly partner with colleagues on clinical research projects, internal project development
and improvements, philanthropic events, client/patient-focused initiatives, and professional conference development. Each of these experiences have
expanded my professional repertoire and further encouraged my desire to get involved on a greater scale. It would be me my privilege to represent my
audiology colleagues from Tennessee on the ASHA Audiology Advisory Council.
As a current member of the ASHA Audiology Advisory Council (AAC), I have had the opportunity over the past two years to better understand the business
practices and inner workings of ASHA. I've seen firsthand the body of work ASHA supports and have come to understand all that work that still needs to be
done for audiologists within ASHA.
Outside of the daily grind and my experiences with AAC, being selected as a student in ASHA's Leadership Development Program-Audiology (2012-2013), as
mentor in ASHA's Student to Empowered Professional Mentoring Program (2014-2015), and service as an Audiology practice lobbyist at both the state and
national level have provided opportunities to develop a broader understanding of the needs of the audiology community. Each of these experiences have
strengthened my desire to team up with colleagues, consider the issues at hand, and work toward compromise and change.
Candace Bourland Hicks
I feel that audiologists should be involved in national organizations, and it is of utmost importance that we understand the issues relevant to the field.
As a member of the Audiology Advisory Council, I would be able to work with other audiologists in discussing issues of importance to audiologists and be
involved in how audiology is promoted at the national level. I feel that such advisory councils are important in the future of the profession, and I would
be honored to serve on the council.
I enjoy working with audiologists in my work and in the state of Texas through my job and through my work with the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing
Association. I have seen the power of working together to better the profession and to continually improve the services provided to our patients. I would
look forward to promoting audiology and providing input at the national level through service on the Audiology Advisory Council.
I have worked at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center for the past 15 years. In my faculty position, I continually address current issues in
the field with the students. This experience provides a basis for my understanding of the importance of national organizations, and how important it is to
be involved in promoting our field.
I serve on organizations at the local and state level. I am currently president-elect for the South Plains Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This
organization has a goal to provide continuing education opportunities for speech-language pathologists and audiologists in the region. I am one of two
audiologists on this board - and have worked collaboratively with the speech-language pathologists to provide audiology-relevant opportunities within the
I also have been active in the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association across the past nine years - serving as a convention strand chair, as an audiology
CEU processor, and as chair of the audiology task force. The organization recently formed a new position - the Vice President of Audiology. I was elected
to this office and am currently serving as the first Vice President of Audiology. This position has provided me the opportunity to provide input on issues
at the state level and has allowed me to work collaboratively with other professionals.
Collectively, all these experiences will benefit me in being able to serve on the Audiology Advisory Council.
I am invested in promoting the strategic objectives of the ASHA organization. There are a number of areas that I would like to support in ASHA's growth:
Interprofessional Education: As an audiologist in a university setting much of my work focuses on training students in applications of audiology for work
in Speech-language pathology and deaf education. In addition to building knowledge and skills related to habilitative and educational audiology, I see a
clear need to develop skills related to interdisciplinary collaboration in both clinical and educational settings.
Service Delivery: Particularly in Texas, accessibility to pediatric audiologists is a barrier to achieving optimal outcomes for children with hearing loss.
Innovative approaches to service delivery including varied training models, telehealth, support for billing and support of the medical home are critical to
ensure a continuum of care. Reducing loss to follow-up of identified infants is a personal priority.
Value of Audiology &Enhanced Application of Clinical Research: Promoting evidence based practice is critical not only to achieving positive outcomes
clinically, but also if we are to advocate effectively for improvements in systems, services and funding. Practical, cross-disciplinary applications with
diverse populations are a personal priority.
I have more than 20 years of field experience focused primarily on early intervention and educational audiology. Family-centered and developmentally based
supports in listening and language have been the focus of my practice. As a university faculty I am engaged in training as well as research related to
improving access and effectiveness within the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) system.
I have been an active collaborator with EHDI stakeholders in Texas. Currently I am coordinating a project with Texas Hands & Voices and the Department
of State Health Services to address loss-to-follow up through parent to parent connections and provider coaching.
My investment in the field is personal, as a parent of two children who are deaf and cochlear implant users. Advocacy through parent and professional
organizations, and partnering with families are high priorities.
My involvement with ASHA has included participation in the organization's Leadership Development Program in Audiology, which built my as well as my
knowledge of the ASHA organization. I desire the opportunity to serve and grow in the organization.
Saomi Santiago De Snyder
My experience in the Audiology Council was an excellent one. I met leaders in my profession and the Speech-Pathology profession that were exemplary
individuals. Exchanging views and opinions
with them regarding issues affecting our patient's and communication between organizations completed in many aspects my professional picture and help me
understand how to service better our fields. In the U.S. Territories we are somewhat isolated since our reality is different from the states. When I became
a council member it opened my frontiers to consider different aspects of our problems and it made me aware of how when we attack a situation together as an
organization we have a better opportunity of winning or at least improve the current state of affairs. The council broaden my horizons. Therefore I will
like to keep learning and keep contributing.
I am an academician and also through my career I have served in the boards of different organizations such as the Neonatal Hearing Screening Board in PR,
the Puerto Rican Organization for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OPPHLA), as president of the Puerto Rico Academy of Audiology and as the
Hearing Health Coordinator of the Ronald McDonald Association. At the international level I was the Vice-president of the Pan American Society of
Audiology. I believe that I can use my experience and my Hispanic and bilingual background as a cultural bridge to make connections where they are most
needed. As a professor I can support and spread the organization's vision to my students and colleagues in PR and Internationally.
I am seeking AC election because I want my voice, and the voice of audiologists, to continue to have a voice in ASHA, especially with regard to
legislation. I have found that the opportunities to contribute to ASHA, from an audiologist's perspective, have been beneficial.
I have been serving as an appointment member of the AC for the last few months, when the former AC for my state needed to step down for personal reasons. I
would like to complete a full term. I have been a Doctor of Audiology for almost 8 years and actively try to stay involved in all Audiology organizations
that help toward our professional advancement and empower audiologists.
I am currently serving a three-year term on the council representing Vermont. In the two years I have completed I have learned so much about ASHA
including, how the association advocates for audiology, represents both professions at the national and local levels, and truly seeks membership
participation and voice to establish policy, protocols, update best practice and guide the association's priorities.
The professional and personal connections I have made on the council have been numerous. Council members have taught me so much about their various work
settings, issues faced in their states and how we can all work together, and not always agree, to help move initiatives forward for our professions.
Through my connections on the council I have invited multiple council members to Vermont to speak at our annual state association's conference. For the
last two years I have also requested an ASHA Board member attend our annual state conference to share more about what the association's current priorities
are and how members can get involved. ASHA's in-person participation has been so beneficial to the membership in my state.
The annual face to face meeting and the opportunity to have face time with our Vermont representatives is an honor and has taught me so much. I would be
honored to serve a second three-year term on the council representing Vermont and audiology.
I am currently serving a three-year term on the ACC. I have participated in our state advisory council for 14 years and work collaboratively within my
state, region and nationally working in the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention field.
Julie Martinez Verhoff
As an Audiology Advisory Council member I would like to work with my colleagues to identify and discuss issues of concern to ASHA's membership. The
opportunity to inform the Board of Directors of issues and concerns as well as offer possible solutions is an important step to promoting advocacy and
change for the better in our field.
Through interprofessional collaboration both audiologists and speech language pathologists can contribute to policy making, patient safety, and overall
improved health and educational outcomes. Interprofessional practice is an area I feel strongly about as I currently work with educators, occupational
therapists, psychologists, speech language pathologists, physicians, auditory verbal therapists, and parents to enhance children's developmental outcomes.
By working together, we can support outcomes measurement to advance service delivery in our field.
In addition, we can further ASHA's public policy agenda and ensure that local, state, and federal government officials are aware of ASHA's public policy
principles, needs, and interest of its members. Working with colleagues that have different subject matter expertise will help provide insight to key state
and federal agency representatives, while promoting ASHA's public policy agenda. Together we can influence federal and state level decision-makers to
advance improvements in quality, reimbursement, and efficiency of healthcare. The passion and experience that ASHA's membership has is a key to educating
members of Congress and their staff on key issues to actually proposing and writing draft legislation. Working together we can we can enhance multiple
levels of advocacy activities.
Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to volunteer on boards and committees as well as participate in community service projects that have helped
me understand the importance of interpersonal professional relationships and collaboration to advance a common goal and guide improved performance. ASHA
specifically has given me the most opportunities to prepare me not only for my own personal career goals in the field of audiology but also how to advocate
for our profession as a whole.
In 2002, I participated in the Research in Higher Education Mentoring Program and then in 2005 was lucky to be part of the Minority Student Leadership
Program. Both were memorable experiences which helped me throughout my career and still do to this day. In addition, I worked with a great group of
colleagues on the Multicultural and diversity Issues planning subcommittee for the 2008 ASHA Convention reviewing conference application submissions
related to Issues in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations. In 2010, I began my term on the Political Action Committee (PAC) board and in 2014
also joined the Government Relations and Public Policy Board as the Chair of the ASHA-PAC. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to join my colleagues on
the Audiology Subject Matter Expert Panel to review ASHA's Audiology Practice Analysis and Curriculum Study. These opportunities have made me aware of the
importance of volunteering and how much we as members can do to advance our field both at the local, state, and national level.
I am seeking Advisory Council election because I would love to play an active role in our profession. It would be a great honor and distinction to
represent Audiologists in the state of Washington and help bring to light concerns and issues that are currently facing the field of Audiology.
Although I have not served on a board or committee that handles the responsibilities the Advisory Council has been tasked with, I do have a strong passion
for our profession. I am new to the profession, and as I look forward to my career as an Audiologist I want the best for my patients as well as for my
Karen Kuhl McNealy
I would like to continue serving on the Advisory Council as the WV representative for audiology. I feel there are many issues that are important to the
field and should be addressed through advocacy at the state and national levels.
Although I am not currently a practicing clinician, I feel my previous twenty-three years as a practicing clinician and my fifteen years in academia
provide a unique perspective to the Advisory Council. I am completing my first term and feel that a second term would allow me the opportunity to be more
involved. In my position as Program Director I have experience in administration and advocacy that I feel are valuable tools for this position.
I am interested in the Audiology Advisory Council position to serve my state and my profession, and I feel that I would be a good match for the
responsibilities and personal characteristics required of the role. I welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with speech-language pathologists and
other audiologists to discuss issues and assist in the problem-solving process. I am a strong advocate for audiology issues and would love to participate
in the ASHA Capitol Hill day to advocate for topics in our field. I enjoy thinking critically, discussing professional issues, learning new skills, and
working with others. I would consider it an honor to volunteer my time giving back to my profession and professional organization.
I feel that my past experiences as a hospital-based audiologist and my current role as a clinical associate professor in an academic setting have provided
me with a good understanding of and appreciation for current issues in our field. I have learned the value of problem-solving, advocacy, outreach, and
relationship-building. I currently see patients clinically, teach Au.D. students, and conduct a variety of community outreach projects. Further, for the
past five years, my role has been partially administrative; I coordinate the audiology portion of the University of Wisconsin Speech and Hearing clinic. I
feel that my career path has well-prepared me for the various responsibilities of an Audiology Advisory Council member. I enjoy working collaboratively
with other audiologists, students, and other professionals in my workplace and in our local and state community. My previous committee membership within my
university department and in my state speech-language-hearing association have provided me with valuable experience collaborating with others. I welcome
new challenges and learning opportunities, and I would welcome this experience.
Amy M. Weaver
There are many issues that I have been following and advocating for as the Wyoming AAC representative for the past two years. I have a very strong interest
in continuing these efforts from home and in March 2016 in Washington DC.
I feel that with the experience I have gained over the past two years serving on the AAC, that I have become someone who is familiar and confident with the
system, meetings, legislative visits, etc. I look back at my first year serving and didn't realize how inexperienced I may have been. It is much easier to
be more prepared, if not exceptionally prepared and knowledgeable, when knowing what to expect during the briefings and visits, in addition to the major
issues at hand. It is also beneficial having gotten to know other members of the council for support.