The March NATA News features an article about women in leadership and how to address barriers and challenges to becoming a leader. In honor of Women’s History Month this March, NATA would like to keep this conversation going through a monthlong blog series highlighting our female leaders. Each blog will feature a different NATA council or committee chair, who will share insights into their leadership journey and what they’ve learned along the way.
In this blog, chair of the NATA Professional Responsibility in Athletic Training Committee Gretchen Schlabach, PhD, ATC, discusses why she chose to take on a leadership role, and the impact it could have on the younger generations of women ATs that will continue to lead in the profession.
What inspired you to take on a leadership position? Were you personally attracted to this role for any reasons?
I was inspired to take a NATA leadership position because I thought I could make a difference in advancing legal, ethical and regulatory issues in athletic training through awareness, analysis, action and adherence. My role on the NATA Professional Responsibility in Athletic Training Committee allows our committee to move in this direction.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a woman in a leadership position?
The most rewarding part of being a woman in a leadership position was to create opportunities for future women leaders and watch the next generation lead us into unchartered areas in athletic training.
Have you felt you’ve been treated fairly/equally as a woman in a leadership position? Have there been an obstacles you’ve had to overcome? If so, how did you overcome/address them?
While I always felt supported in my NATA leadership roles, I have experienced leadership obstacles in other settings. In difficult situations, be confident, learn to pivot, maintain your values and keep an open mind. If the outcome isn’t what you were hoping for, learn the lesson.
Do you think it’s important for more women to take leadership positions in athletic training? Why or why not?
Yes, I think it is very important for more women to take leadership positions in athletic training. Women have different stories shaping a unique and worthy perspective that deserves a voice and consideration in a diverse organization.
How do you manage to balance work, life and volunteer leadership positions?
Work and life ebbs and flows, and managing those two elements requires a complete calendar. It also requires an appreciation that life (work and personal) happens and a need to be flexible and to be ready to pivot.
What advice would you give to women who want to take on leadership roles but worry about not having the time or finding that balance?
Try to project the volume of work to fulfill your responsibilities in a leadership position. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to your committee. Reach out to other women in leadership for personal support.
What is the key to becoming a successful woman in leadership in athletic training?
Recognizing the needs of the profession and developing a strategy to address them.