September 01, 2015

 

 Past and future perfect

Kinnarney: AVMA’s success depends on return to ‘entrepreneurial roots’

Posted Aug. 19, 2015

Dr. Joe Kinnarney worries the AVMA is losing its edge as a leading member organization.

“Never in my career have I been more concerned than I am now with this trend. It means that we have not been adapting and evolving fast enough to meet our members’ needs,” Dr. Kinnarney, the 2015-2016 AVMA president, said at the regular annual session of the Association’s House of Delegates on July 10 in Boston. He succeeded Dr. Ted Cohn as AVMA president four days later.

While the HOD and Board of Directors have spent recent years attempting to reform AVMA governance, membership in the Association has declined. “Unfortunately, this heated debate has impacted our members. Our members do not understand why we are not focused on their current needs,” Dr. Kinnarney said.  

Apple and other thriving companies succeed because they have visionary leaders who implement plans that give customers what they want, Dr. Kinnarney explained. Kodak and Blockbuster are examples of what happens when a company doesn’t adapt. He told delegates it’s clear the AVMA hasn’t evolved to meet member needs as quickly as it should. 

The Board of Directors needs to think more entrepreneurially so that we are focusing on strategies, tactics, tools, and services to improve the lives of our members versus dealing with policies and rules.” 
AVMA President Joe Kinnarney

AVMA leadership, Dr. Kinnarney insisted, has to act and think differently. “The Board of Directors needs to think more entrepreneurially so that we are focusing on strategies, tactics, tools, and services to improve the lives of our members versus dealing with policies and rules,” he said. “We need to get back to our entrepreneurial roots.”

Dr. Kinnarney recalled how the veterinary profession has changed since its early days as horse doctors. And throughout its 152-year existence, the AVMA has been a guide for veterinarians, helping them evolve to meet changing societal demands. AVMA leaders, he noted, had the vision to set minimum standards for veterinary education and to establish the insurance trusts.  

“What made all these changes possible?” he asked. “The House of Delegates working closely with the Board of Directors.”

Accountability is the one factor that has the greatest potential to reverse the declining membership trend, Dr. Kinnarney said. He informed delegates he introduced a proposal at the BOD meeting this past April to form a subcommittee to identify strategies to make the Board more transparent and responsive to member needs. He challenged the next BOD chair to make the necessary reforms. 



Dr. Joe Kinnarney addresses the AVMA House of Delegates this past July in Boston.

As a valued partner in the AVMA’s success, the HOD must take this time to change how it operates as well, Dr. Kinnarney said.

“If we are to be relevant to our members, we must change our governance to allow current, pertinent issues to be openly discussed and acted upon by this body,” he said. “I challenge the leaders of this House—the House Advisory Committee—to tackle this issue.”

Further, Dr. Kinnarney challenged the HAC to have a resolution with such governance reforms ready by the next HOD session in January.

“I want to make it very clear I am honored to be the president of this great organization. I love this Association. I always have, and I always will,” Dr. Kinnarney said. “Some criticize this organization with the intent of hurting it. I criticize to help make it better.”  

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