President’s Annual Message

Dear Fellow ILCA Members,

Last year was ILCA’s 30th Anniversary—and a remarkable year it was. During the annual President’s message, I would like to touch on just some of the highlights of this past year and offer a brief forecast of what promise 2016 brings.

World health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care now drives all we do at ILCA. Our efforts are guided by the new strategic map and amplified thanks to a new board, committee, and task force structure. These changes are the result of a lengthy process conducted by the board in 2015 to redefine our organizational values, goals, and objectives.

The ILCA Partners Initiative became a reality, with 15 new partnerships formed during 2015. Established “to define a formal relationship with global partners and to forge a collaborative network of organizations committed to expanding the reach and impact of the IBCLC profession worldwide,” this unique framework is being used today to bridge vision and reality by helping to illuminate and share the global breastfeeding agenda with those at the local level best equipped to mediate much needed change. The 2015 ILCA Conference was host to the first annual ILCA Partners Meeting, where international collaborators and partners gathered to take the initial steps to better define the global breastfeeding agenda.

ILCA celebrated 30 years of advancing the IBCLC profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. From the 2015 Conference Founder’s Reception to the screening of the documentary MILK by director and producer, Noemi Weis, ILCA honored the many ways our profession has changed lives. Also at the conference, ILCA bid farewell to two-term board member Roberta Graham de Escobedo and former JHL Editor Anne Merewood. Thanks to both for their years for service to ILCA and its members.

A revamped membership fee structure for 2016 reflected ILCA’s commitment to the principles of equity and diversity. Determined to align with our new values, the ILCA Board of Directors took action to address the disparities in our tiered pricing structure and make membership accessible to all of those committed to our vision.

New talent committed to helping ILCA achieve our goals. ILCA was honored when Mudiwah Kadeshe joined the board of directors. ILCA was very pleased to have Cynthia Good Mojab join ILCA as our new Education Manager. Cynthia, who brings with her a wealth of experience in education and the field of Equity and Diversity, assumed her role in September. ILCA was also very pleased to announce the hiring of Joan Dodgson as the new JHL Editor and the signing of a new, and more lucrative, six-year agreement with JHL publisher, SAGE Publishing, Inc. Other changes in ILCA staff personnel included the move of Judi Lauwers to the newly established position of Accreditation Manager, and the hiring of Assistant Executive Director, Jennifer Rothman; Administrative Coordinator, Courtney Smith; and, Membership Coordinator Kelly Cain. In 2015, we also said farewell to Jessica Lytle as the Assistant Executive Director to ILCA.

Finally, ILCA ended the year with these record-setting milestones:

  • Highest membership in history – 6204
  • Highest operating reserves ever – 8.79 months
  • Highest number of Membership scholarships awarded for 2016 – 18

And, with 2015 as the benchmark, 2016 promises to be even better. ILCA proudly started the new year with the launch of our new website, which displays the new ILCA logo. If you have not yet visited the new ILCA website, I promise you are in for a treat. Our thanks to the entire ILCA staff, and especially to the core development team—Amber McCann, Jeanette McCulloch, and Jessica Lytle—for their tireless efforts in updating this key resource.

As we move into the new year, ILCA’s new committee and task force structure is taking form with the establishment of the Executive Teams. If you have not yet submitted your volunteer application, I encourage you to do so now. Your help is needed to make our vision a reality. Please join us on this journey to World health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.

We hope you will join us in Chicago, Illinois, USA, where we have assembled the leading experts in the world for our annual conference. Gather with lactation experts and advocates from around the globe on 20-23 July (learn more about our new, shorter conference format here). Enjoy the opportunity to earn up to 22 CERPs (including pre-conference sessions) and take advantage of free wifi in the conference space. This year’s theme is Celebrating Baby Friendly in the Hospital and Beyond: Helping Families Thrive Worldwide. ILCA is thrilled with the opportunity to help draw attention to this important area during this year of celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). Please make your reservations soon for this special event. Among the very special planned activities in July will be the “passing of the gavel” to new ILCA President, Michele Griswold.

As I complete my final watch as ILCA President, I am proud of the progress we have made since I took office. And I am especially mindful of the contributions and sacrifices made by so many before me and those who now serve this great organization. We have been blessed these past 18 months to raise this organization to new heights. I am eternally grateful for those who have preceded me and set the stage for what we have accomplished. There remains much to do, but we are treading where few have been, we are expanding our reach, and we are making a difference.

As we look forward to the possibilities this new year will bring, I extend to each of you who have and will accompany me on this journey my heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

Decalie Signature



Decalie Brown, RN, CM, IBCLC, CFHN, BHMtg, FILCA
ILCA President, 2014-2016


Editor’s note: this post was revised shortly after publication to acknowledge three staff changes omitted in error.

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