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.
Dick 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.