In the beginning, through perseverance, dedication, and plain luck, you find yourself nominated to run for the national Board of Directors of ACEP. Wow, what an honor. After the initial angst of worrying who really loves you and strategizing your campaign, the first thing that hits you are the emails. You are included on the Board’s e-list and get to “peek through the keyhole” at all the correspondence among the present Board and staff. It’s intimidating in several ways: sheer volume, the brilliance of the conversation, and the importance of the content. You wonder how anyone keeps up, but the breadth of knowledge, diversity, and importance of the topics suck you in; you get hooked. You want to get right in the deep end but realize you’re not going anywhere without your floaties on.
Seemingly, though months actually go into preparation, all of a sudden, the Council meeting is called to order, and you don’t sleep for 48 hours. You try your hardest to prove you can talk intelligently, both in small groups and before the Council, without tripping over the one question you fear will alienate entire states. You pray your passion, commitment, and drive will somehow emerge and shine enough compared to the other outstanding candidates, who are your friends and colleagues.
Now you sweat, through the election itself, and find yourself being congratulated by all the people you’ve always looked up to, who insist you never needed to worry. Then Sonja Montgomery, ACEP’s governance operations director and every Board member’s guardian angel, reminds you that at 7 a.m. Monday, your butt belongs to her.
So the work begins, like a deluge from a fire hose.
The Hard Work Begins
The rest of Scientific Assembly is a blur as you run from one meeting to another. At least once, you look down at your schedule, thinking you’re finally on time for a meeting, only to realize you’re actually triple booked, and this wasn’t even one of the three! Next, they ease you in at the Board retreat, where you begin to stop worshipping your colleagues on the Board and instead simply become impressed with their work ethic, knowledge, and experience. Somewhere in this opening orientation, you discover they are your newest circle of best friends. That’s a good thing, too, because you email them several times a day and now start to rendezvous with them all over the map several times a month.