During yesterday’s President’s Address at the 30th Annual ILCA Conference, Board President Decalie Brown unveiled a major strategic shift that will drive ILCA’s future. We wanted to share with you, here on Lactation Matters, these highlights of the new strategy guiding our profession.
Thirty years ago, our founders laid the foundations for the profession that we enjoy today. Since then, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® has certified over 27,450 IBCLCs in over 101 countries. IBCLCs all over the world have supported and provided guidance to breastfeeding families. We know that breastfeeding saves lives and, thanks to our founders, countless lives have been changed.
As our profession was birthed, so was ILCA. We’ve used the past 30 years to advance the IBCLC profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.
One year ago, ILCA announced its new vision: World health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care. This vision speaks to the powerful IMPACT of the IBCLCs working daily around the globe. Embracing the IMPACT of our work has also enabled us to better align with many global organizations who share this common vision.
Adopting a new vision led to an exciting and important year. We took a hard look at every aspect of ILCA’s work to determine how it aligned with the vision. We emerged with three Core Values, the driving forces behind why we do what we do:
Knowledge: We believe knowledge guides our practice, strengthens our value, and supports our role in transforming world health.
Diversity: We foster an inclusive environment that supports leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research from varied perspectives.
Equity: We support global access to skilled lactation care and the IBCLC profession.
As we move forward, we will test each idea, decision, program, and initiative against these values and determine how they will impact our three primary areas of impact: our members, the IBCLC profession, and the world.
Our members are the heart of our organization. We will continue to place our highest value on providing you with quality benefits that help you to be better at what you do. As a result, there are a few changes coming soon which will impact the way you interact with ILCA. Be on the lookout for more information about our new website, which will include an updated Find a Lactation Consultant feature and a private social network specifically designed to meet the needs of our members. We’re also overhauling our learning management system where you view webinars and live streaming events and obtain your continuing education units.
We have also asked the critical question:”How do we connect our members to global breastfeeding advocacy?” We need a stronger focus on workforce development, encouraging and empowering new practitioners to join us in this important work. Did you know that, according to our recent member survey, forty-five percent of members intend to retire in the next 10 years? We need to work NOW to encourage more practitioners to support their communities as IBCLCs. A significant gap will exist if we don’t start working now to fill it.
We have also challenged ourselves to look critically at how equity – or a lack of it – impacts our profession. Earlier this week, ILCA participated in the Lactation Equity Action Seminar, addressing how we can work together to break down barriers to our profession. As we hold equity as a core value, ILCA is committed to rigorously examining our own systems and structures and taking action to increase equity.
One of the most influential ways we can impact our profession and encourage a great swelling of the impact of IBCLCs worldwide is our BRAND NEW GLOBAL PARTNERS INITIATIVE. Just a few days ago, on 22 July 2015, ILCA hosted the Inaugural ILCA Partners Meeting. ILCA committed to expanding formal partnerships with like-minded membership organizations throughout the global breastfeeding community. These national and regional partner organizations are vital to the work of supporting breastfeeding families. In addition, ILCA recognized an urgent need to facilitate the growth and development of small groups of breastfeeding advocates who were not yet self-sufficient. By partnering with ILCA, these organizations will be able to tap into global strategies already established, engage in expert mentoring, and have better access to resources.
We are also developing partnerships with international, public health organizations to connect them with YOU. What if YOU could combine your talents, your skills, and your expertise to their strategies and resources? ILCA is growing the capacity and capability to provide that much-needed infrastructure to bridge global intentions with local needs. We have recognized a new and unique opportunity to significantly impact breastfeeding and skilled lactation care on a global scale—bridging the gap between vision and reality.
Through the creation of our Global Partners Initiative, ILCA is ready to play a major role in promoting breastfeeding worldwide. We are uniquely placed as a bridge between the IBCLCs who are doing the important work “on the ground” and the global organizations who are directing policy and resources. Currently, our ILCA members are an “untapped resource” for these global changemakers. ILCA membership is vitally important because it puts you at the front line of worldwide, life saving work. You can read more about this initiative in our recent Lactation Matters post.
Our mission remains the same: To advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. Now, we are expanding the means and the network to make sure it happens on a global scale.
As we reflect back over our past 30 years, we’re so grateful for the strong foundations that were laid that allowed relationships to be built, expertise to be established, and compassionate care to be the norm. If it wasn’t for the strong work of ILCA for the past 30 years, we wouldn’t be here to launch this new chapter of our influence. You have to know where you’ve come from TO KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING. We’ve come from a strong, passionate place and we’re headed down a new path towards changing the world.
It is exciting to see that the momentum continues, and that the ILCA Board is thinking strategically to consider the future of our profession. Thanks for all your hard work and for the difference you are making!
One thing that is so invigorating about going to the ILCA conferences is to feel myself placed in the world-wide context of lactation/breastfeeding support. One thing that is so hard about going to the ILCA conference is to feel the energy of all three prongs of the stool- education, support and promotion- but know that in the overall scheme of hours in a day that promotion is a distant third in my life, even though I am trying to do my best to promote breastfeeding in my own locale. I admire the energies of our movers and shakers in our Association who can have the vision to look out of their own influence sphere to the world wide stage, but when I read “Currently, our ILCA members are an “untapped resource” for these global changemakers”, I also know that as one of the many ILCA members, I may be untapped but I am not sure how tapped I can be. The challenge will be to find the little ways that even people like me can help in meaningful ways. On another note, the statistic of the 45% retiring in 10 years is a little bothersome……especially knowing that a big percentage of the initial cohorts came from the mother support group setting– I would be very interested in seeing current statistics as to who the new IBCLC’s are- their backgrounds and age demographics. They are our future.