Published on October 6th, 2015


Why I Became a Board Director

By Jennifer O’Donnell, 2nd Vice-Chair

Recently, I was asked what compelled me to apply to become a member of the SAC Board. When I was in grad school, a professor told me that she thought one day I would be President of CASLPA (now Chair of SAC). Always looking for another goal to strive toward, I decided before I graduated that yes, I would aspire to become Chair at some point in my career.

Through the years, my desire to become Chair hasn’t changed, but that conversation with my professor is no longer the only reason I chose to apply to the Board. SAC has been very good to me and for me, as a professional and as a person, and I wanted more of that. I also wanted to seize the opportunity to give back to an organization that has given me so much — being supported as a student to present my research at conference, being welcomed on committees, feeling appreciated for my input and contributions, receiving member benefits, being invited to contribute to the growth of our professions, meeting and working with so many amazing people… Putting my name forward was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made in some time. I feel very fortunate that you, my fellow members, elected me to represent you.

Despite having been on the Board only a year, I have already learned more than I ever imagined possible. Our Directors are amazing people and professionals, as are the SAC staff members. They inspire me to want more for our professions, to work harder to be a better clinician and manager.

SAC is our national association and I feel that we have a duty to volunteer, not just for the Board, but for any role within the association that is of interest to us. SAC is there for us, the members and associates, as well as our professions. The association values the different levels of knowledge, skills and experience each individual brings to working on a professional Board. Through volunteering our time, knowledge and skills, we keep SAC strong and work together to move the professions forward. While the experience of volunteering varies from one person to the next, the benefits are numerous: volunteering is a wonderful way to feel like you have grown, learned, contributed and made a difference.

Why volunteer now? Because this is an exciting time to be on the Board!

  • We are at the beginning of a new era, given that we now use a skills-based Board model. This ensures that the Board is composed of Directors with diverse yet complimentary skill sets. No one Director has all the skills needed for a well-rounded Board, which is why we need you to think about everything you could bring to the table.
  • Also, in 2016 we will have a new strategic plan in place and will be working with staff to set the association’s direction for the next few years. What better time is there to join us and add your voice to those around the table as we discuss our future?
  • The recent launch of SAC’s campaign has energized us to mobilize. Through this campaign, we are letting candidates know that the work communication health professionals do every single day has a significant, life-changing impact on the lives of many Canadians. Following the election, we plan to continue working with the government to further advocate for our patients, clients and their families, and for the advancement of our professions. You can be a leader in this campaign by joining the Board!

Your unique experiences, your knowledge and your skills are what the Board needs. I encourage you to be daring, get excited about a new opportunity and submit your name for the upcoming SAC Board of Directors election! If you have any questions about the application process, time commitment, or any other aspect of being on the Board, please contact me at or write to Judy Meintzer, the Chair of the Governance and Nomination Committee, at

So, are you ready to join us on the Board? I hope so!

About the author:

Jennifer ODonnell
Jennifer O’Donnell, M.Sc., S-LP(C)
Jennifer received her M.Sc. in human communication disorders from Dalhousie University in 2005. Her thesis work has been published in the Journal of Fluency Disorders. Since graduation, she has worked as an S-LP, primarily with preschoolers, at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst, New Brunswick. She is a member and coordinator of the Pediatric Developmental Team and became department manager in 2006. She is a certified member of SAC, a Past President of the New Brunswick Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists and a former board director of the Canadian Alliance of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Regulators. Her professional interests include administration, early intervention and inter- and transdisciplinary assessment and treatment. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, cooking, gardening, photography, reading, traveling, watching movies, doing Zumba and spending time with family, friends and pets.

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