The combined power of our accomplished staff and strong volunteers is a force of nature. And that’s critical because our work is truly life or death.
Debra BenAvram, FASAE, CAE, the CEO of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, answers questions from ASPEN member Gordon Sacks.
Where do you derive your motivation to lead our society?
Above all, the people. Our volunteers are passionate about improving the care of each patient. Their commitment is infectious and motivates me to continuously improve. And every day, the people around me over-deliver. The combined power of our accomplished staff and strong volunteers is a force of nature. And that’s critical because our work is truly life or death.
What legacy would you like to leave after you’ve finished serving as the CEO of ASPEN?
Of course, I would like to have significantly elevated the role of nutrition in the healthcare realm. What our members do for patients truly matters. I would like to be remembered as a CEO who supports colleagues and who is, above all, authentic, and as someone who did not accept the status quo, but rather took appropriate risks and faced challenges head on.
I hope I help foster a deep appreciation for the crucial role that culture plays in success. The culture we have built—through our staff, governance, and members—focuses on excellence, value, silo elimination, and connectivity to our mission. That’s not just about me as the leader. Together, we’ve created a strong foundation that will last well beyond my tenure. That will be my greatest legacy.
What attribute do you believe a member of an association board of directors most needs to succeed?
Without question, an appreciation of diverse perspectives. It’s imperative to check your ego and personal agenda at the door in order to effectively collaborate, harness the collective power of the group, and build for the future.