A Season of Change

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By Dawn Mancuso, HA CEO

dawn mancusoI do not know what this winter has been like where you live, but here in the D.C. area, the winter has been much more like a lamb than a lion. Not that I am complaining, mind you, but it does mean that the trees and plants in the area are a bit confused. Crocuses blooming and trees budding in February? What will that do to our spring blooms, especially the Cherry Blossoms, which are usually so beautiful? As much as I dislike the cold of winter, I would hate to see the wonder of spring dulled by a change in weather that arrives too soon.

Much like the weather, HA is undergoing a season of change. The long-awaited transition of our operations from San Francisco to the Washington, D.C., area has begun. At its February 6th meeting, the Board of Directors approved a plan that will involve the opening of an office in Bethesda, Maryland (just across the D.C. line), and the closing of our California office by July 31st of this year. It is a bittersweet moment – just think about all the history, all the wonderful landmarks the Association has reached while in California. Think, too, about the phenomenal staff members in the California office who have worked so diligently for the cause for so many years. Karima Roumila, MPH, our Director of Support & Education, will continue to work for the Association from California, but we will be saying a very sad good-bye to Jerry Acosta, Jordan Faigen, Tom Smith and Lisa Sun. We will surely miss them, and hope they will remain friends for years to come.

Unlike the weather, however, this change has been a long time coming and holds much promise for the future. Washington, D.C. is not only the seat of government but also the nation’s public policy capitol. It is a place where the work of associations is well known and understood. (Trivia fact: Associations are the 3rd largest “industry” in the D.C. area, trailing only behind government and tourism.) As a result, it is home to a qualified and talented pool of workers who specialize in this endeavor on behalf of innumerable patient groups, professions, industries and charities. With our presence here, we have an opportunity to widen our outreach, expand our influence, educate and advocate for our goals, and make sure that hydrocephalus is no longer an overlooked condition.

More importantly, this transition is not happening overnight. The board-approved plan includes a substantial commitment of resources to assure as smooth a process as possible, including allowing for a two-month overlap of CA-based and DC-based staff to aid in training. It will still be a herculean task complete with complications and accomplishments, but it is surely one that helps spring us forward (sorry for the pun!) into a brighter future.

So, will March come in like a lion and go out like a lamb? Maybe not this year, but a season of change is definitely upon us all. May you all enjoy the longer hours of daylight, the prospect of warmer, sunnier days, and the promise of good things to come!

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