IRQ Articles

Executive director's column 

07-18-2018 14:05

Telling the value of SIR, staff-style

By Susan E. Sedory, MA, CAE  Summer 2018

I recently read the article, “Defining the value of interventional radiology,” which encouraged IRs to always be prepared to make their value understood to patients, providers and the public. You can read it at, but you probably already know how the article goes—IR is not widely understood and it’s each of our jobs to market IR whenever and wherever we can.

As members, you are unquestionably, at different times, the owners, customers and workforce of SIR. But in an organization of our size and scope, the society’s staff provide an integral role of leading with you as we come together to solve problems, meet your needs and accomplish the goals we hold in common.

SIR staff share in and recognize the challenge of making IR more widely understood among the general population. After all, it’s not always easy for association staff to explain to others what it means to work for a professional membership association.

So how do we spread the story of IR?

First, we learn the story from you, using many opportunities to educate ourselves on IR procedures and the patients you treat. We are fortunate to have had local academic and private IR practices open their doors for staff visitors. And both members and corporate partners have generously presented grand rounds at SIR HQ, such as Venu Vadlamudi highlighting IR treatments last February and Lauren Park, a fourth-year medical student, describing the joy she has experienced on her journey to becoming an IR. We continue learning the story of IR as we meet your needs—from Elizabeth Nicholson proofing the final production of the DVL to Tori Cox keeping tabs on SIR Connect discussions.

Second, we share the story, communicating about the efficacy of IR treatments through our website, press releases and social media channels. Kate Martin is the official voice behind SIR Specialists on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; she is constantly looking for new items to post or retweet. But you should also be following several staff, especially @BGatSIRF (Becca Ginns) and @JoyatSIR (Joy Gornal), who use their own handles to spread your stories about IR.

But that’s not all. We’ve conducted several briefings before Congress on Capitol Hill, augmenting ongoing efforts to educate our legislators and policy-makers. We engage with other medical societies via peer networks, spreading the story of IR at the staff level throughout the medical community. And twice a year, staff attend meetings of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS); this past March, Caitlin Couture attended the Membership Directors component group meeting, while Zuhal Haidari and Eleanore Moye participated in a day-long meeting about clinical registries. I also participated in a CMSS session for CEOs and am a member of the Specialty Society CEOs Coalitions, which gives me the vantage point of seeing what similar organizations are facing, while making sure those organizations understand what IR is.

Third, we support your story, by striving to ensure that SIR grows in value to you, our members, our partners and the public. Just as you value CME to learn about new procedures or improved ways of working, SIR invests in the professional development of our staff to bring creative thinking and fresh perspectives to our work on behalf of the specialty. Whether we’re attending webinars and seminars from the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE)—the premier membership organization for professionals working in associations—or Digital Now (which focuses on the ongoing digital transformation of associations), pursuing advanced degrees, or earning certifications, SIR staff strive to excel in all their areas of competence.

And those outside SIR are noticing. Earlier this year, SIR Foundation received a second straight Telly Award from Yorktel for this year’s Gala video (; @tellyawards). ASAE recently recognized SIR with its “Power of A” Award for our IAmIR Diversity and Inclusion campaign—a testament to the enthusiasm and commitment by our specialty for the IR workforce to reflect the diversity of the patients we treat. And a few months ago, Elise Castelli won Washington Women in PR’s award for Emerging Leaders in the association category.

In so many ways, SIR staff and volunteer leaders take pride in achieving and maintaining a balanced partnership. We know we can help you by bringing our best competencies to the enterprise and by helping you share and spread your knowledge for achieving our mission. That’s the value of SIR.

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