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Introducing Dick Padlo, New Executive Director of ILCA

What is a Guy like Me Doing in a Place like This?

Dick Padlo, Executive Director of ILCA

Dick Padlo, Executive Director of ILCA

This is my first blog for the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA). For that matter, it’s my first blog for anyone. Wanting to avoid any embarrassment to the association and myself, I felt consulting with our wonderful Lactation Matters editor, Amber McCann, would be a good place to start. Given her tremendous success in helping to build the popularity of our blog and our readership, I was certain she would have some sage advice for my “introductory” blog. She did. I won’t repeat exactly what she said. It’s more what she didn’t say. So reading “behind” the lines, I interpreted her message to mean: “What is a guy like you doing in a place like this?”

What is a guy like me…?

Raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, I enlisted in the United States Air Force right after high school. Earning an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy afforded me the opportunity to get a great education, to see the world, and to serve my country and a few others along the way.

After serving as the last Base Commander at Zweibruecken Air Base, Germany, I left the military and entered the private sector as a management consultant. Working with senior executives in private industry, nonprofits, and local governments, I specialized in organizational development; strategic planning; and change management—helping organizations become what they could be. Later, putting into practice my leadership experience and organizational development skills, I held several executive leadership roles in the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

During my professional development certain events occurred that helped to shape my values and beliefs. In traveling to numerous remote areas of the world, I was struck with the disparity in the fulfillment of basic human needs among the “haves” and the “have nots.” While working with SOFTLY International and community leaders in the outreaches of Honduras, I watched my own son literally lift impoverished children from the ground to place them in their first bed and to give them hope for the future. For my son, and others who participated, it was a heartbreaking contrast to the life we had come to take for granted.

Time and time again, the reality of my global presumption of certain inalienable human “rights” was called into question. And, as I held steadfastly to this premise, over time, I had to acknowledge we are, as yet, far from this ideal. So began a deepening awareness of my personal “responsibility” for working with others to make it so. From this, I became committed to working collaboratively to build a world in which every individual can live with dignity and be afforded the opportunity to thrive.

Why in a place like this…?

Deciding to join the ILCA team was a “no-brainer.” An organization with a compelling international cause and unfulfilled potential aligned well with and my personal capacity, capability, and commitment to help organizations achieve desired outcomes through collaborative leadership.

Despite the inarguable physiological, psychological, and economic value of lactation, there remain large segments of the world population that have not yet benefitted. And, despite the efforts of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) community and others so aligned, there remains the unfulfilled need for greater awareness, training, education, and lactation services. As clearly outlined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the The Child, the next generation has a right to a healthy and productive life, and we have a responsibility to do our part.

I am persuaded there is no greater achievement in life than to become what you are and to find its purpose in helping those in need. Serving as Executive Director for ILCA presents for me the perfect opportunity to make use of my leadership talents, organizational skills, and collaborative agenda to make an important difference. It is the recognition of a basic human “right” and the realization of my personal vow to take “responsibility” for bringing it to fruition.

My hope for ILCA

I believe all people of all countries share certain inalienable rights, and each of us has a personal and collective responsibility to ensure these rights prevail. In the months and years to come, I envision a new paradigm. I imagine a world in which all children are physically and emotionally nurtured and enriched because the community of organizations, who share our purpose, found a way to work together—to identity common values, and to build an inclusive environment to pursue our shared vision. And, with your help, I envision ILCA and its members becoming the cornerstone of a grass roots effort to mobilize resources world-wide in building a collaborative initiative within the global lactation advocacy community around a common agenda and shared objectives.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve the IBCLC community. I look forward to working beside you knowing together, we can do more than has been imagined thus far.

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