As I look back on my year as ASNM President, I am reminded of Shakespeare's Henry IV who once remarked, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown". To King Henry I say, “Indeed”.
The President of the ASNM volunteers his or her time to work nights and weekends for the benefit of this profession and everyone who works in it. Set aside for the year are hobbies, goals, dreams and time with family and friends. There are nights of lost sleep amid persistent feelings of stress and worry. There are thousands of emails to read and respond to. There are hundreds of decisions to make; each, it seems, with lobbying from different points of view. The President of the ASNM experiences admiration and disregard, support and opposition, loyalty and betrayal. Amid all of this, one comes to recognize that the dominant feeling about this profession, coming from those who work in the profession, is one of indifference. That, I believe, takes the greatest toll... indifference. Heavy lies the crown indeed.
Despite all of these feelings, my presidency has proven to be ephemeral in hindsight. It seems like only yesterday when I gave my Incoming President’s Address at the ASNM Annual Meeting in May of 2019. And, here we are a year later, ready to transition to a new President. Despite the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, which has put the whole world on hold and caused us to cancel our much-anticipated Annual Meeting, this past year has been a successful one for me, and for the ASNM.
A lot of people have asked if my final President’s Message was going to be another big speech, similar to the long, passionate address that I delivered last year. The answer to that question is no. My feeling is that a speech of such magnitude should probably be reserved for exactly what I used it for... to unleash a scathing indictment of an entire profession and reveal a strategic vision for how it can be improved over both the short and long term. So, no big exit speech. Today, my final message to the ASNM Membership will simply consist of a few important things I want to say before I pass the torch.
As I look back on my presidency, I can honestly say that I’m proud of every decision I made and every action I took. As President, I experienced both success and failure. In hindsight, I am left only with peace of mind knowing that I led the ASNM with integrity, I persevered through difficult times, and I learned some important lessons that I’ll take with me to the next stage of life. At the end of the day, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the ASNM and happy to see us moving in the right direction.
I would like to take a moment and extend my sincere thank you to every single person who stepped up over the last year and offered to help. In fact, so many people answered my call to assist, we weren’t even able to use everyone’s help. Having too much help is always an asset in a volunteer society. So, thank you to everyone who offered to volunteer their time to the ASNM.
I’d also like to thank the people who supported me over the last year, both personally and professionally. My supporters are too numerous to name, but you know who you are, and I want you to know that I’m deeply appreciative of you.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be working with Faisal to make sure we have a smooth transition of leadership on May 4th, 2020. I am confident in Faisal’s leadership and I certainly hope everyone will give him the help, support and encouragement he needs to have a successful year.
So, what’s next for me? Well, I will remain on the Executive Committee for one year in the position of “Immediate Past President”. After that, I will cycle off of the ASNM Board entirely. We’re moving in the right direction. Now, it’s time for new leaders to emerge and take us to the next level. Personally, I’m going to take a step back and focus on me. It’s about time for that.
It has been an honor and a privilege serving as ASNM President.
Rich Vogel, PhD, DABNM, FASNM
ASNM President 2019-2020