The Fate of Your State…
Dr. Jay LaGuardia
What’s the state of your state chiropractic association?
If you don’t know, it might be time to find out.
We’ve got to get crystal clear on who we are as practitioners and who (or what) we are as a profession.
The more we can differentiate ourselves – and, at the same time, support the application of equitable standards of measuring the effectiveness across all healthcare and wellbeing disciplines.
Thankfully, there are chiropractors who understand that they are traveling a road paved by the sacrifices and struggles of the chiropractors who came before them. When asked who exemplified this kind of involvement and engagement, Life University’s VP for University Advancement, Greg Harris, thought of Dr. Jay LaGuardia immediately. Harris went on to explain the importance of involvement at the state level makes all the difference to the quality of chiropractic practice: Enough chiropractors who live in a state taking on the responsibility to ensure their state associations are representing the interests of the profession. There’s even something in it for individual doctors who become involved at the state association level; Harris said, “It makes the doctor part of something bigger than their local community; thus broadens their thinking and access to knowledge.”
But, Harris went on to say, it takes a great leader at the state level to taking on the responsibility for building sufficient individual doctor engagement to become “enough” to make a difference. He’s also noticed how taking on leadership roles affects doctors’ practices as well, “People have a natural respect for those with leadership abilities, which is amplified when they take on leadership positions. What they gain from taking on responsibility at that level can carry over to their own success in their clinic.”
Most significant of all, having committed TORs who “get it” contributes to the ongoing soundness of the profession at its founding philosophical values. As Harris puts it, “You can’t get your ideals implemented if you’re not involved. Jay LaGuardia made that kind of difference in his state.”
Dr. Jay LaGuardia, DC, CCWP and Past President of Chiropractic Society of Wisconsin, is indeed a great example of someone who just ‘gets it’ and has stepped up to serve the profession at the state leadership level. When we first asked Dr. LaGuardia about his role as president of a state association, paraphrasing Shakespeare, he said: “There are times in life when you assume leadership and times when leadership is thrust upon you. In fall of 2011 leadership found me.”
TCL: How did that happen? What was going on in your state that called out for your leadership?
LaGuardia: I was approached by a group of leaders within our state and asked if I would help spearhead a new state association. Wisconsin’s long established organization had lost its way and drifted far from the founding chiropractic principles. It didn’t take me long to accept my role in this daunting task.
TCL: Did you just sort of step into leadership out of the blue? Or did you have some specific inspiration?
LaGuardia: I have been blessed to have many great mentors in my life who have contributed to molding my values and philosophy. They gave of their time, talent and resources to help ensure my success. I knew there was no way I could turn my back on them and on the next generation of chiropractors. So many have suffered so much to afford me the opportunity to experience the success that I have enjoyed. It was now my turn to pay back that debt of gratitude and stand up for what I believed in and to lead the way back to our founding principle.
TCL: What do you think turned the tide for Wisconsin, in terms of getting things back on track?
LaGuardia: Our state was in desperate need of a new vision and leadership to help right the ship correct its course. A clear vision was the first thing that was essential followed by a plan that everyone could believe would work. Finally, there was a relentless commitment to see the goal through.
When you are clear on who you are and what you believe, you can’t sit idly buy and not stand up for what’s right. Even in the face of great adversity and opposition, it is our moral and ethical obligation to confront injustices, especially when it affects so many. A right isn’t only a right when it is convenient.