Presidential Update September 2021

Headshot of Valeria KeffalaWhat a glorious beginning to another fall season in Iowa! As a transplant to Iowa from California, I never tire of leaves changing, the weather turning colder, a new school year underway, and the football games, homecoming parades, and community events that are come to life in the college community where I live.

Fall is the time of national and state elections that determine much of what will come in the years ahead. The same is true for IPA! I am excited at the beginning of this fall season to have our IPA elections completed and look forward to some new faces on the IPA Executive Council. 

For the first time in the nearly 75-year history of IPA, the 2022 presidential triad will be comprised of all women! Dr. Nicole Keedy will be our new president, Dr. Nicole Holmberg will be our new president-elect, and I will move into the role of past-president. Though both men and women in IPA have been amazing presidential leaders, this upcoming year reflects the changing face of psychology over time. It is my hope that as an organization we continue to reflect changes in the larger community, inviting more diversity by creating more opportunities for leadership for psychologists in IPA and in the state of Iowa. 

IPA has grown, both in membership and in engagement, at the local, state, and national level. IPA has done a superb job supporting psychologists in Iowa by offering multiple training and CEU opportunities, by offering mentoring to students and new professionals, and by developing opportunities for early, mid, and later career psychologists to make a home in Iowa. We have made every effort to invite psychologists to both train AND remain in the state of Iowa, growing the profession of psychology in the state where Fields of Opportunities is our slogan!

Before running for president-elect 2 years ago, I had volunteered in IPA in a variety of ways over the years. IPA has evolved as we, and those with whom we work, have met multiple challenges. As an organization we have met the challenge of serving others through the insidious advance of COVID-19 (including the new Delta variant) that has ravaged our communities and families, the attempts by insurance companies to undermine payment for our services, the destruction of homes and offices of many during the derecho and flooding in various parts of the state, and many other economic, health, and safety challenges. Through it all, psychologists in the state of Iowa have continued to provide excellent care of patients, fabulous teaching in our universities and colleges, and have provided leadership in a variety of ways and in many roles. Even in the midst of all of these challenges, IPA is succeeding!

One of the ways IPA leadership has continued to thrive has been to maintain a commitment to change and grow. Towards this end, it has been one of my goals as president to have IPA revise the By-Laws and Policy and Procedures Manuals. These out-of-date documents have become unhelpful as individuals on the Executive Council tried to understand their roles and responsibilities to the organization. Earlier this year, I appointed IPA past-president Dr. Benjamin Tallman to lead this important and colossal effort as chair of the committee charged with the task to evaluate, update, and re-write these important documents needed for the proper running of our organization. 

Dr. Tallman has successfully leading this committee to examine every position in IPA leadership, every committee, and every contractor who works for IPA. We are reviewing every process and procedure with the hope of clarifying, defining, and providing guidance to others who will follow in these roles in the future. We meet as a group twice per month to work on creating a new and user-friendly document that will be easier to revise as roles grow and change. We want to provide both transparency and clarity for our future IPA leaders. With the help of leaders currently in these positions we have successfully started this process, though the task continues to grow as we recognize the many gaps in our current manuals. We hope to be done with this task in the next 12-24 months!

Please let me clarify that being involved in IPA leadership is more than just commitment and facing challenges. It also a source of friendship, collegiality, synergism, affinity, much joy and laughter, and sometimes wonderful shared meals! Though I spend hours in IPA meetings every month, I leave each one with a sense of wellbeing and greater purpose; a sense of being part of something bigger than myself. 

So, though being involved in IPA leadership is time consuming, it’s also lots of fun! Here is a photo from a recent IPA working retreat we had on my family farm. (Yes, a former southern California gal who had wanted to be a marine biologist now lives on a farm in a state with no ocean in site!) 

photo from Valerie's family farm

 IPA leadership is committed to doing our best and to lead with excellence, AND we also have a lot of fun! I encourage you to become involved! You belong here, make yourself at home! IPA wouldn’t survive with you!



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