We are proud to have the opportunity to introduce you to Decalie Brown, who will be assuming the role of Board President at the annual general meeting (AGM) in July at our annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Decalie has been an active member of the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Board of Directors since 2009 and has served as Director of Marketing. Decalie is also a registered nurse/midwife with 33 years of experience serving the families in her community. She is currently working as a nurse specialist in Community Health, visiting parents and babies in their homes and at clinics in the Blue Mountains of Australia, supporting complex issues. She extensively supports health professionals and parents with education of lactation, infant feeding and transitioning to new parenthood.
We recently interviewed Decalie to find out a bit more about her career and her visions for the future of ILCA:
What Called You to Be an IBCLC?
My first baby was a preterm infant after a Grade 3 Placenta Praevia and I was determined that she would only have breastmilk for the first 6 months. We struggled but met our goal. My second child was very different and breastfed with very little trouble and I was convinced that breastfeeding was the best thing I could ever do for my babies. To watch your child grow and develop because of the gift I gave was simply amazing.
I wanted to share with others the unique experiences I had as a breastfeeding mother. I knew the difficulties and also knew the rewards. I never realized how amazing it was until I experienced it, not once but twice.
As a midwife and a practical Child & Family Health Nurse, I loved everything about breastfeeding and wanted to know more about both the science and the art of lactation. Determined, I read and studied anything I could get my hands on that related to breastfeeding and lactation. My passion become a reality and I became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2001.
Today, I truly have the best job. I work as a nurse specialist in Community Health, visiting parents and babies in their homes and clinics. Every day, I have an opportunity to learn something new and make a difference in the lives of babies and their families. It’s a privilege to be assisting parents as they achieve their parenting goals as well as navigating their own breastfeeding/infant feeding journey. For them, there is only one baby in the world that matters . . . their own.
How Did You Get Involved With ILCA?
I was first involved with ILCA at the 2006 Philadelphia conference where I ambitiously submitted a poster and volunteered for the organization for the first time. What a thrill it was to move among the lactation legends! A highlight of that time was a tour to the local Primary Health Center and a chat I had on the bus ride home with Dr. Ruth Lawrence!
I remember being so excited to be there among so many great speakers. I had read their books and their research and heard them speak but never met them in person. I seized many moments that conference and asked if I could capture the memory with a quick photo. I cherish these photos today.
As I continued to volunteer for ILCA, I was invited to attend the Strategic Planning sessions in March 2008 in Las Vegas (of all places!). Wow! What a thrill and opportunity of a lifetime to sit in the same room as the whole ILCA and International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) Board of Directors and it was a privilege for me, as someone who just happened to have a passion for the lactation world and was now able to have input into their major strategic planning sessions.
After gaining confidence as a Director on the Board of the Australian Lactation Consultants Association (before Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ) was formed) for 2 years, I became the ILCA Director of Marketing in 2009. The rest is history!
As the Incoming President, What Are Your Priorities in the First Year of Your Presidency?
To listen carefully at the 2014 Summit Addressing Inequities within the Lactation Consultant Profession and collaborate on the recommended steps to reduce barriers of entry into our profession and increase access to our services.
To advance the recognition of the IBCLC credential and profession. Providing skilled lactation care is a critical part of transforming world public health.
To continue refining and improving ILCA’s internal governance, based on transparency, accountability and strategic financial planning.
What Do You See as ILCA’s Primary Goals for Your Term?
To continue being THE best resource for education and professional development opportunities for IBCLCs, and those who support the ILCA vision and mission. We will also focus on expanding the educational opportunities offered to our members.
To develop and expand the relationships with our affiliate organizations globally.
To actively update and revise ILCA’s Strategic Plan, a “living document” that is adjusted to changes in priority, member needs, and fiscal opportunity.
To expand ILCA’s presence, outreach, and voice through social media and online channels.
To increase ILCA’s membership, especially in countries and populations under-represented in the past.
To expand ILCA’s impact as a global leader in international public health and policy-setting activities.
To increase opportunities for research and analysis of research, especially through ILCA outlets.
Have a party to celebrate 30 years of ILCA as a strong advocate for our profession!
Do you have additional questions for Decalie?
Please leave a comment and we’ll be glad to post her answers.