By Lydia Hicks
NATA’s popular podcast, “The NATA-Cast,” taped a live on-site session featuring the NATA AT Compensation Task Force June 22 in the Indianapolis Convention Center during the 74th NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo.
Panelists from the NATA AT Compensation Task Force discussed what it’s been like to be an integral part of the podcast’s launch and some of the surprising finds they’ve made about the profession along the way.
On the panel were five task force members, including the task force co-chair and the inaugural host for the podcast, Murphy Grant, LAT, ATC, NASM-PES; Hall of Fame Committee Chair Rick Griffin, MS, LAT, ATC, representing the professional sports subgroup; Craig Voll, PhD, ATC, PT, co-chair of the task force; NATA Early Professionals’ Committee Chair Emily Mulkey, MS, LAT, ATC, representing the college and university subgroup; and NATA Past President Marjory Albohm, MS, AT Ret., representing the gender and equity subgroup.
Each member of the panel represented an interest group among NATA members. Moderated by Murphy, they shared their journey with the task force along with the reason for and impact of their work in supporting their constituents’ compensation negotiations.
“The biggest reason I wanted to be on this task force was to help young athletic trainers avoid the mistakes that I made over the years,” Griffin said. “It took me 20 years to learn how to stand up for myself and vice my value, represent myself in a manner that my employer was recognizing that I had more value than he thinks.”
“Similarly, as I represent the early professional voice as well, I wanted to make sure that opinion and that perspective was also considered,” Mulkey said. “Early professionals are changing; we’ve gone through very different situations than athletic trainers before us, with different degree changes, [COVID-19], and so making sure that voice heard was incredibly important to me, in addition to representing the college and university setting.”
“The gender and equity subgroup was added a little after the compensation task force was started,” Albohm said. “Personally, I have had a passion for gender equity. When I was asked to be on that subgroup, I was excited to contribute with other subgroup members. ... What really got a red flag in my mind was when I saw the 2021 [NATA] Salary Survey compared to the 2018 [NATA] Salary Survey, in comparing female athletic trainer salaries to male athletic trainer salaries. In the 2021 survey, there was a greater disparity between the two than it was in the 2018, and I was like, ‘Oh man, we gotta do something here.’”
“Where the passion came from was, I now realized that there was another language that we really needed to be able to speak and I really was interested in empowering the members – to be able to teach them that language so that when they were in their in their individual opportunities, they were able to speak the right language … that the CFO or COO understands,” Voll said. ”The second part was the understanding that compensation just doesn’t include your salary. … Its multifactored and really being able to show the members, as we were doing these podcasts, that it isn’t just the amount of money that’s you’re making.”
Throughout the rest of the discussion, the panelist shared the importance of having deliverables for the members and highlighted their findings that were presented via their podcasts.
Griffin said that in professional sports, most of the recognition ATs receive come from the athletes.
“Our deliverable was, ‘How do we get that message to our front office?’” Griffin said.
Some of the other findings were related to the challenge of not knowing what to ask for in compensation discussions.
Murphy urged the live and listening audience who are ATs responsible for hiring other ATs to also advocate for their peers.
At the end of the panel discussion, the floor was open for the audience to ask questions.
As the inaugural podcast series of “The NATA-Cast,” “CompensATion ConversATion” has been the task force’s multipart feature discussing compensation in various athletic training settings. Some of the topics have been “CompensATion ConversATion: What to Expect,” “CompensATion ConversATion: Tips for Approaching the Uncomfortable Topic” and “CompensATion ConversATion: Busting Three Big Myths About AT Compensation.”
Listen to more episodes on compensation in the profession and other topics on the podcast’s webpage or access it through your preferred podcast provider.
Learn more about the origins of the “The NATA-Cast” in the NATA Now blog.