Carolyn Wiles Higdon, Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Mississippi was elected to the ASHA Board of Directors in the position of the Vice President of Finance. Higdon brings to her position experience in professional organizations as well as years in both the private and academic sectors of the profession. She has worked in schools and medical centers, and in developing an international private practice that included case management, life care planning and mediation. Higdon has also worked on multiple ASHA committees and boards, as well as for three state associations in leadership roles, and as chair of state licensure boards. The financial and policy foundation that she brings to this position will help her serve this membership’s financial needs.
By working in almost every setting possible for speech-language pathology, Higdon has experienced first hand, the challenges and needs of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists. She sees several issues as being critical to her position including helping members have a better understanding of how their membership dues are being spent. In this changing economy, she thinks it is also important to address nontraditional, creative ways to approach projects that will maximize good financial planning. She also thinks it is important for members to work toward a more global perspective with the Association’s financial planning; a global mindset is a pre-requisite to effective business leadership in this decade.
Higdon sees several issues as critical: the current economic climate, the changing landscape of healthcare, the SLP and Audiology needs in schools, a need for increased lobbying and visibility in legislative issues, the need for increased research toward more evidence-based practice and improved clinical treatment outcomes, an increased understanding of international practice issues, ways to address our expanding scope of practice and still attend to our Code of Ethics, and a focus on how the changing landscape of higher education affects members’ practice.
The leadership style that Higdon believes she brings to the Vice President of Finance position includes an ability to listen to members, a desire for openness and transparency in all business of the Association, collaboration with many stakeholders, and an attempt to hear all sides to issues. She truly believes that her motto for her term of office is: Let us not be stopped by that which divides us, but look for that which unites us!”