Two Years Later: Feeling the Change

Lactation Matters Post Titles (6)

A little more than two years ago, the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Board of Directors made a deliberate and bold decision to change the path of ILCA. Two years later, that change is having real-life impact on our members and the world. We are grateful for your ongoing support of the new ILCA vision, and want to share with you the changes we have seen so far. One thing is for sure: it is no longer business as usual at ILCA.

Our journey began with the recognition that the clearest path to promoting the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) was through creating greater global impact: World heath transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care. Our new vision had its intended effect. ILCA was able to launch into a much larger global arena with increased collaboration and potential impact.

To make the most of that potential impact, the board began the process of reassessing organizational values and aspirations. The end result is a new tactical direction: a strategic map establishing new priorities, goals, and objectives.

The board recognized that the current board, committee, and staff structure were designed many years ago under a different vision with only a minor global agenda for ILCA. The board responded by eliminating board director titles, thus eliminating “silos” of operations within the board; by completely redesigning the committee structure; and by realigning the ILCA staff to better meet the new organizational goals and objectives.

As new committees have formed, they are being asked to ensure that planned activities are strategically aligned with organizational priorities, which, understandably, often conflict with prior activities. These new priorities have overtaken those from the past, and we are feeling the change.

ILCA’s commitment to global impact is now reflected in our vastly expanded advocacy efforts. Funding in this area has been increased two-fold and will result in ILCA’s highest-ever participation in international forums in 2016.

In the past two years, ILCA has expanded its global partnerships from 3 national—regional organizations to 17! In terms of mere presence, ILCA global exposure and potential impact on lactation consultants at the local level has nearly doubled with newly formed relationships in countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and South Africa.

ILCA’s new emphasis on equity and diversity is creating a new cultural awareness and focus on equitable access. Leading by example, ILCA committed to broaden the cultural and linguistic appeal of educational opportunities by dedicating funds to expanding the pool of international conference and webinar speakers and providing greater access to existing educational materials through more translations of key resources.

One way ILCA is broadening our global impact and appeal is by expanding our capacity to provide members with greater access to a broad spectrum of evidence-based research. Rather than diverting critical resources to the development of position papers, ILCA will now make greater use of member content experts to build functional areas of expertise, which can help identify and highlight quality evidence-based resources that are useful in a local and global context. This bottom—up versus top—down flow of information makes greater use of member expertise and will significantly expand our capacity for information sharing. Watch here for more information and next steps. We will need the expertise of our membership to make this effort a success.

The changes at ILCA—and the impact of these changes—is unprecedented. As we continue on this path toward greater global influence, we must guard against our natural tendency to maintain the status quo, to stick with the familiar and continue business as usual. In today’s world of growing interdependence, our success in transforming world health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care will largely depend upon our ability to expand our global collaborative community of like-minded organizations. This expansion can best be achieved by continuing our efforts to examine and alter our internal functioning so that our core values of equity and diversity are increasingly manifested in all that we do.

Renaissance historian Niccolò Machiavelli once shared, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” We have knowingly set a new course with an awareness the journey will be challenging, the confusion lessened by transparency, and the impact unsurpassed.

Let there be no mistake, ILCA is committed to a new path and sustained by the knowledge that together we can do even more than has been imagined.

dick1Dick Padlo, ILCA Executive Director, was raised in the suburbs of Chicago. He started his professional career by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force and a short time later, earned an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. After graduation, Dick held numerous leadership positions before serving as a base commander in Germany. He moved into the private sector, managing a Fortune 500 enterprise, and later built a technology start-up into a financial success. His transition to the nonprofit sector involved a successful effort to help revive an international nonprofit by guiding the board in a strategic initiative to refocus their organizational vision and streamline their mission. More recently, Dick designed the strategy and infrastructure for a regional collaboration among cross-sector coalitions to develop a common regional agenda to help those in poverty build a better life. Dick holds a Masters degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University. Dick’s wife, Dedra, is a former special education teacher and mental health therapist who now works as a holistic health coach. Dick and Dedra have one son, Scott.

5 Responses to Two Years Later: Feeling the Change

  1. Lynne daly 23 May 2016 at 22:55 #

    Well done to the whole team at ILCA. Especially to my friend Decalie Brown for her role!

  2. ECBrooks 24 May 2016 at 06:50 #

    I love everything about this. Well done, ILCA.

  3. Linda Wieser 26 May 2016 at 11:33 #

    Overall I am very pleased with the direction ILCA is heading and thank the Board for making the change. I am concerned, however, about the ILCA Board’s decision not to have position papers. I strongly believe that an international organization such as ILCA has an obligation to provide leadership in the field of lactation.

    One important way to do this is to develop position papers on topics which impact the breastfeeding status of the mother or baby. Other organizations look to ILCA for direction on significant emerging issues which may be controversial and/or confusing for parents and health professionals. Based on an analysis and synthesis of current research and clinical experience, position papers provide direction that facilitates appropriate action from members, other professionals and the public. They lead and educate. They express an expert-opinion and a plan for next steps. An excellent example of this is ILCA’s position paper Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies which is on the website.

    When the decision was made to no longer have position papers, authors were working on three position papers on the topics: HIV and Infant Feeding, Human Milk Sharing and Bedsharing and Breastfeeding. As former chair of the ILCA Professional Resources Committee, I feel sad and disappointed that ILCA will not be taking a stand and leading the way by providing direction and clarity for these important topics.

    • Maryanne Perrin 26 May 2016 at 21:12 #

      Last week I got an email from a family in Washington D.C. desperate to find some information on how to safely engage in milk sharing so they could feed their baby, born through surrogacy, human milk (I’m not an IBCLC, but they found my email address through research published in JHL). I directed them to the only evidence based position paper currently available, published by the American Academy of Nursing (hat tip Diane Spatz and her colleagues for driving this important work!). There are real families wanting real guidance on this topic and I’m disappointed that ILCA has decided not to provide professional leadership on important emerging topics in the field of lactation.

  4. Pamela Morrison IBCLC 29 September 2016 at 04:38 #

    I would like to endorse Linda Weisner’s comments above and thank her for her unwavering support for the early drafts of the HIV and Breastfeeding Position Paper. As a co-author of the paper I can confirm that it reached Draft 20 before it was completed to everyone’s satisfaction, and then to our astonishment, the project was suddenly withdrawn by the ILCA Board. I am about to attend the WABA 25th Anniversary conference where I will be attempting to speak to our new ILCA President about this poor decision. It is of interest that although ILCA is one of WABA’s Core Partners, WABA have chosen to include in their package of background documents an out of date position paper released two years ago by a midwives’ association…… because obviously there is nothing available from ILCA. This is a shameful omission. As an IBCLC who has taken a special interest in HIV and infant feeding for the last 20 years, I can confirm that this very convoluted topic is beset by myth-information, prejudice and out-of-date personal bias which masquerades as researched medical fact. I attempt to fulfil personally the frequent requests for information I receive from IBCLCs all over the world. I would like nothing better than to point them in the direction of the ILCA website where an up-to-date research-based Position Paper awaited to help provide them, and their clients, with sufficient information to assist each mother, with her healthcare provider’s assistance, to make an informed infant feeding decision which would fit the circumstances of each individual HIV-exposed baby. By releasing Position Papers on these controversial topics, eg Sleep and Informal Milk Sharing, as well as HIV, the Board could save ILCA members hours, days and sometimes weeks of time hunting for the latest and most relevant research. And ILCA members can be reassured that the teams of experts who have worked to put them together have selected the most up-to-date reviews, studies, opinion pieces and guidelines to sort the wheat from the chaff. Along with others, I would urge the ILCA Board to re-visit their decision on Position Papers – their members need them.

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