Friday, October 26, 2018

A Day in the Life of OHIMA’s Executive Director: Part 1

by Lauren Manson, RHIA – Executive Director, OHIMA 

I have had writing this article on my to-do list for quite some time.  Long to-do lists that grow and never shrink are just part of the life of an Executive Director.  Working for a small non-profit, there is always more to do and never enough time. 

Many people – inside and outside the association – are curious about my work as the Executive Director of the Ohio Health Information Management Association.  My sister commented once that she had no idea what an Executive Director actually did.  She just knew that I was on my computer all the time.  She’s a nurse.  And all nurses who function as a nurse – regardless of in what setting they work – do basically the same general things.  They are a vital part of direct patient care and planning that care, they act as a patient advocate, and provide patient education and support. 

Along those same lines … all associations – regardless of industry – do the same basic things.  And there is an association for everything.  There are associations for nurses.  For podiatrists.  For the professionals who do snow removal.  For truck drivers.  And of course, Health Information Management professionals. 

I came from the HIM industry (rather than from another association).  I used to travel around the nation implementing Electronic Medical Records in radiology practices.  Loved the work.  Traveled all week every week for about 3 years.  It is said that people who travel full-time will burn out after about 2-3 years.  And boy was that true!  Right about when I hit 3 years of traveling, I never wanted to see the inside of another hotel room.  Ever.  Again.  And still … 7+ years later.  I STILL don’t care for traveling – even for vacations – because of those 3 years of living out of a hotel.  Maybe one day, I will enjoy travel again.  But for now, I love sleeping in my own bed every night.  While I was traveling and working as an HIM professional implementing EMRs, I never dreamed that working on the association side of HIM would be in my future.  But it was!

I soon found that being an HIM professional and being an association executive are two very different things.  When I became the Executive Director of OHIMA, I had to learn how to be an association executive.  And I learned quickly that all associations – regardless of industry do the same basic 5 things:
  1. Continuing Education (meetings, online education, etc.)
  2. Advocacy (promoting the profession, occasional lobbying, etc.) 
  3. Membership Engagement (awards and scholarships, communication via social media, e-newsletters, etc.)  
  4. Resources (providing updates on the industry, being a resource to answer questions for not only association members but also the general public and other organizations) 
  5. Administration (running a non-profit business involves working with the Board of Directors, strategic planning, managing staff, volunteers, and finances, etc.)
My life as Executive Director centers around these 5 tasks.  And no two days are the same.  Depending on the time of year, the OHIMA Central Office focuses on different projects.  In the winter, we spend much of our time prepping for the Annual Meeting and Trade Show (it takes many checklists and timelines with hundreds of line items to make our big conference happen and run smoothly!).  In June, we are working with the Board of Directors to prepare strategies and the budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1st.  In the autumn, we have several events including the Fall Coding Seminar, HIM Advocacy Day at the Statehouse, the national AHIMA Convention, and more.  We stay very busy here! 

The next article in this “Day in the Life” series will highlight a few days in my work life.  And later in another article, you will meet some of our other staff members in the OHIMA Central Office!  Together with our great staff and volunteers, we make it all happen.

This is me working in my home office.
Without any makeup on.
(I can’t believe I am posting this!)
But this is what I look like most days.

If you want to write a “Day in the Life” article about your HIM job...
contact me at!  I’d love to help you write it! 

1 comment:

  1. Truthful in every way; thank you for sharing your insights and perspectives on the joys, achievements and challenges of association management, Lauren.

    - Jarrod A. Clabaugh, CAE, President & CEO, The Ohio Society of Association Executives