Editor’s Introduction: The CSA welcomed its Executive Director, Julie Kahlfeldt, in June of this year. We consider ourselves fortunate to have recruited Julie with her wealth of experience in anesthesia professional societies such as the ASA and ASRA. Ms. Kahlfeldt has had a busy first few weeks with the Society and wanted to take this opportunity to introduce herself to the CSA membership.
By Julie Kahlfeldt
“You’re moving where?”
“You are so lucky!”
When I accepted the position as the Executive Director for the California Society of Anesthesiologists and told EVERYONE I knew (with the biggest smile on my face), that’s pretty much how the conversation went. When my plane landed at SFO, I knew I was home. It was not lost on me that this was a chance of a lifetime, and that I was one lucky woman.
“I am here if you need me. Don’t hesitate to call me, about anything.”
Since my arrival this phrase has been echoed by the CSA leadership and members alike. I am overwhelmed by the warm welcome to the CSA. This simple expression of support and assistance ensures I have more than luck behind me, a great deal more.
People asked me if I was ready. I would shake my head and in my most confident voice would say, “Absolutely. I was born ready.” All the while, I thanked my “lucky stars” that I had a cadre of leaders, volunteers and staff members who really wanted me, and ultimately the CSA, to succeed.
In the short time I have been with the CSA, I have traveled to LA to meet with the design firm, and am excited about the release of our new logo and tag line. I have visited “the Barnaby’s,” CSA’s legislative counselors, in their headquarters office in Sacramento and had my first lesson in California politics; I am hooked. I have had the pleasure of visits from several physician-leaders, each of whom has shared their immeasurable wisdom.
I have learned many practical things: like how to say and spell Sybert...(or is it Sibert?), that the temperature can change almost 10 degrees from the office to my home in San Francisco, and even though there is a beach ten minutes from my home, it is WAY TOO COLD to spend time there.
I know that there is a great team who works for CSA members. Terrie Rowe manages CSA’s excellent CME activities. Merrin McGregor develops beautiful brochures, websites, and other items seen and used by members and non-members. I have heard kind and helpful responses from Melissa Cuen to members and appreciate her insight and ideas to vitalize membership. I have asked Adam Yarbough to help me better understand of the true operations of the office and value his insights into “how the CSA does things.” Ian Sambrano is my right hand man when it comes to managing the finances of CSA. I would say I am VERY lucky, and thankful, to have a dedicated staff who want to provide the best customer service for our members.
There truly are “golden” opportunities here in the “Golden State.” I know that the organization suffered a setback with the opt out ruling. CSA leadership continues to work to determine and implement the next phase to secure the future of the specialty. This may include a range of new avenues, new ideas, and new allies/partners.
Dr. Pregler, in his Presidential address, mentioned the development of a strategic plan for the organization. This is another opportunity for growth and change for the leaders, the structure of the Board, and the organization as a whole. We want to make sure that activities this Society undertakes add value to our members and support the mission of the organization. I am passionate about the importance of a strategic plan and I look forward to the chance to work with the Board and volunteer as we develop ours.
As a nod to our fearless leaders who have utilized quotes from Mark Twain and Yoda in their Presidential addresses, I leave you with mine (as borrowed from Ed Bradley):
“Be prepared, work hard, and hope for a little luck. Recognize that the harder you work and the better prepared you are, the more luck you might have.”
I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to serve this organization. And I do plan to take advantage of the offers for assistance. For those folks who said I was lucky; they have no idea.