Sam Stinnett, CAE
When the Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists (previously known as TANA) was formally incorporated on August 9, 1974, the AANA was making steady progress in advancing the profession of CRNAs for nearly 40 years. One can imagine TxANA was established from a desire to support the safety of local communities and connect with other CRNAs in Texas. In the early years, operations of the Association were in the hands of the CRNA members and Board of Directors. One of the duties when assuming the role of Director was to be responsible for the records of the Association. The records were passed on from Board Member to Board Member and were often stored in a garage, home closet, or car trunk. The Board of Directors realized this obligation was better suited for someone with a specific commitment to the day-to-day affairs of the Association. In 1991, the first employee to assume this administrative role was hired.
Fast forward to 2014, TANA rebranded to TxANA, and I was approached for the position of Executive Director. TxANA hired me in the fall of 2014 because I embodied both qualifications, having previously served as a legislative director for a Texas State Senator, legislative aide for two Senate Committees Chairs, and as an executive at a public affairs and public relations firm focused on the State Capitol and non-profit clients. It is incredibly beneficial for TxANA to have a CEO/Executive Director with strong relationships and experience to continually advance TxANA's mission.
Currently, TxANA is in a fortunate situation where we can lead as the exception and not the rule by employing a full-time Executive Director/CEO with accredited association leadership experience. The Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is the marker of a committed association professional who has demonstrated the wide range of knowledge essential to manage an association in today's challenging environment. So how does this benefit TxANA?
In addition to having a CEO with both legislative and Association management experience, TxANA is the only state or national CRNA Association representing CRNAs led by a fully employed CAE, and one with a strong legislative background. It is the only state association under the AANA with full-time dedicated support staff to help address its member needs. How does TxANA's team compare to other organizations of our size? According to a study by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), TxANA falls within the national average of full-time employment for an organization of comparable size. Organizations of TxANA's size typically have a range of 2.1-4.9 full-time employees (TxANA has three). In effect, we are here to support you from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
While COVID-19 has changed how we approach many things, office operations continued. We remain focused on the organization's mission and work hard to help ensure members are receiving pertinent communication and access to critical information. The TxANA team always encourages feedback on opportunities for improvement regarding outreach and rapport with Texas CRNAs.
TxANA exists to support and promote our members. In 2019, the Association underwent a high-resource member needs assessment to determine what CRNAs in Texas require that their Association handles for them. Many resources are offered on TxANA's website. TxANA frequently receives practice questions, and the website provides a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. We do our best to ensure this practice page stays up to date, and we work with the Practice Committee and TxANA Board to develop and monitor issues of interest to our members and other vested parties. Any additional practice questions can be submitted online here, and staff will typically respond within three business days. If you are interested in practice issues, we encourage you to join the Government Relations and Practice Committee to promote and protect your profession.
With over a decade of legislative experience and a recognized capacity to lead an association, we were able to identify and retain several key agents to assist in TxANA's service to our members. Chief Operating Officer, Andrea Pee, oversees daily office operations and events. Another team member, Tyler Pointer, Director of Communications, leads and plans public relations efforts for TxANA and oversight in social media strategy. Roland Leal is TxANA's lobbyist. We rely on his keen insight into legislative issues and strategic direction to ensure our mission is at the center of our interests. Kevin Stewart, JD, serves as General and Regulatory Counsel for TxANA, providing legal counsel and helping maintain proper regulatory practices in accordance with the bylaws of the Association. Our Public Relations (PR) and Communications consultant, Jennifer Harris, establishes a consistent and reputable media presence and is instrumental in expanding the profession's visibility through press releases and communication campaigns. This team of professionals is constantly and passionately advocating for you every step of the way. Our team works closely with the TxANA Board and Committees, and this relationship is key to preserving and expanding the organization's interests.
TxANA's evolution is truly indicative of the growth and expansion of the CRNA profession in Texas. TxANA's achievements are the product of our adaptability to the membership's professional, technological, and social needs. Every decision made for the organization is in tune with the guidance from our members (example: Member Needs Assessment Survey, polls, action requests, etc.), committees, and the direction of the Board of Directors. Thank you for the opportunity to provide an in-depth insight into the daily operations of TxANA, and we hope members can trust the team chosen to represent you. TxANA is always at your disposal, so feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.