On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Jenna Kantor guest hosts and interviews Sue Griffin on how to be the speaker for the APTA’s House of Delegates.  Dr. Sue Griffin is the Speaker of the House of Delegates for the American Physical Therapy Association.

In this episode, we discuss:

-What are Robert’s rules of order

-The responsibilities of the Speaker of the House of Delegates

-What roles you should seek in order to prepare for Speaker responsibilities

-Why Sue loves the APTA

-And so much more!



National Association for Parliamentarians

The Clinical Outcomes Summit: Use the Discount Code: LITZY


For more information on Sue:

Dr. Griffin has been a physical therapist for more than 30 years. She has practiced in a wide variety of clinical settings throughout that time, and continues to practice in acute- and long-term care. Dr. Griffin has taught ethical coursework for entry-level and post-professional PTs and PTAs at the state and national level.

Examples of Dr. Griffin’s accomplishments include:

Elected Speaker of the House of Delegates for the American Physical Therapy Association in 2014.

Full-time professor for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville, WI for more than 20 years.

Served on the Ethics Committee for the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association from 2007-2013.

Chaired the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association Task Force in 2004, when the Wisconsin PT practice act was updated.

Lead instructor in a PTA program, delivering content in a wide variety of clinical areas. Long-term and

in depth involvement in clinical education. Licensed doctor of physical therapy with a broad background in many areas, including longterm care, acute and rehab spinal cord, acute head injury, inpatient and outpatient orthopedics and neurology, and amputation. Board certified in geriatrics. Very active member of WPTA and APTA.

For more information on Jenna:

Dr. Jenna Kantor, PT, DPT (co-founder) is a bubbly and energetic girl who was born and raised in Petaluma, California. Growing up, she trained and performed ballet throughout the United States. After earning a BA in Dance and Drama at the University of California, Irvine, she worked professionally in musical theatre for 15+ years with tours, regional theatres, & overseas (www.jennakantor.com) until she found herself ready to move onto a new chapter in her life – a career in Physical Therapy. Jenna is currently in her 3rd year at Columbia University’s Physical Therapy Program. She is also a co-founder of the podcast, “Physiotherapy Performance Perspectives,” has an evidence-based monthly youtube series titled “Injury Prevention for Dancers,” is a NY SSIG Co-Founder, NYPTA Student Conclave 2017 Development Team, works with the NYPTA Greater New York Legislative Task Force and is the NYPTA Public Policy Committee Student Liaison. Jenna aspires to be a physical therapist for amateur and professional performers to help ensure long, healthy careers. To learn more, please check out her website: www.jennafkantor.wixsite.com/jkpt


Read the full transcript below:

Jenna Kantor:                00:00                Hello, this is Jenna Kantor with Healthy, Wealthy and Smart. And I’m here with Sue Griffin, which is absolutely incredible. I am just a fan of anyone who is involved with the APTA and really making a change. So would you mind sharing, your the speaker of the House of delegates, would you mind explaining what is that position? I would love to learn.

Sue Griffin:                   00:20                Sure. So speaker of the house runs the house of delegates. So the house of delegates is pretty analogous to like a representative body like you’d have in your state legislature, like the assembly. So, every state chapter gets to elect physical therapists as representatives. And it’s the number is based on the number of members they have in their chapter. So we have about 400 every year that together and they kind of look like, you know, if you’ve seen those old convention things like the long tables and the state signs, I mean, that’s kind of what it looks like. It’s in these huge ballroom. There is a day is, and so up on the day is, that’s where I preside from. And so the speaker stands on the day is and runs the meeting and it’s incredibly formal because you can’t have 400 people like talking over one another.

Sue Griffin:                   01:09                It sound like, you know, English parliament or something, which we don’t want. So that’s the state chapter part. And then we also have all of the sections have a representative, the student assembly sends two representatives, the board of directors are there and the PT Caucus. So they all have representatives. They don’t have a vote, but they are able to speak and debate and offer motions and things like that. So that’s how our association creates positions and policies.

Jenna Kantor:                01:44                So with all these people together, you are leading the meeting? Robert’s rules and all.

Sue Griffin:                   01:51                Yes, very, very formal. And so we stick to Robert’s rules really strictly because otherwise again, like it would be chaos.

Jenna Kantor:                02:00                Oh yeah, absolutely. And would you mind explaining what are Robert’s rules for those who do not know?

Sue Griffin:                   02:06                Everyone knows what. No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. No.

Sue Griffin:                   02:09                So Robert’s rules of order is a specific kind of school of parliamentary process. So there are a couple of different schools, but this is probably the most famous. And so there’s literally a book that kind of like a thick little mini Bible and it helps you run a meeting. So it has rules about procedure, like who can speak when and if someone brings a motion, in other words, if they want to take action, they present in a very carefully worded format and then there are processes for how people can change or amend that motion so that you can, it’s a way for a group to make decisions.

Jenna Kantor:                02:47                And it makes it easier for everyone else to follow.

Sue Griffin:                   02:50                Right. And the basis is really to protect the voice of the minority and yet still let the majority accomplish their will.

Jenna Kantor:                03:00                I love that kind of the whole purpose of it.  And what is the time commitment for your position?

Sue Griffin:                   03:05                It varies a little bit, but there’s kind of a low level steady level of commitment that’s probably five to 10 hours a week because I also serve on the board of directors, so I have to participate on all the board activities as well as manage the house activities. And then like times like this, like pretty much from January through June. So the house of delegates right now is always in June, so pretty much from January to June, or at least CSM to June is when people are really working hard on their motions and we’re trying to help them craft them. And so I would say the time commitment is, you know, probably 15 to 20 hours a week.

Jenna Kantor:                03:45                That’s great. That’s great. Well, you’re making a big difference, so that makes sense. And then of course as it gets closer, I’m sure it increases.

Sue Griffin:                   03:52                It does. I don’t know that I’m making a big difference. I think I’m helping everybody make a big difference. Now, I’m going to think I’m trying to just, you know, I’m the facilitator. I’m not the, I’m not the maker.

Jenna Kantor:                                        Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So as the facilitator, why do you like this job?

Sue Griffin:                                           Oh, it’s just great. I mean, first of all, it’s just so many passionate and really smart people, you know, coming together and they all have such great intent. I suppose every process like this is political to some extent, but you know, we don’t have, everybody is really trying to move and accomplish what they really believe is best for the profession. And I feel like we really have a group that shares common values at a really deep level. And it’s just so exciting to see those people come together and be able to accomplish things because physical therapy is the best profession. Right? And so for us to be able to do things that can help us elevate our level of practice, get people to access us better. I mean that’s the kinds of things that you know our association is trying to drive to do. And this is, this is a big part of that. This is the driving body in many ways.

Jenna Kantor:                04:59                Oh absolutely. That’s honestly why I love the APTA personally. So for you, what past experiences greatly contributed for you being able to handle and take on this position? I would love to hear your journey.

Sue Griffin:                   05:12                I think a really formative part was when I served as the secretary of our state chapter in Wisconsin and I did that role for four years and you know, secretaries have to take minutes. And so, you know, you’re in a meeting with maybe 12 or 15 people and that meeting is not run very strictly on Robert’s rules of order. So, you know, there’s a lot of discussion, which is really perfectly appropriate. But at some point, you know, I would find myself kind of listening and then I’d say is so is this what you’re trying to say? No, I’d take notes and I help people craft motions and they’re like, yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s what I want to say. That’s good. So it really helped me learn how to listen to a lot of conversations and try to distill the essence of what people were trying to accomplish.

Sue Griffin:                   05:55                And that has served me very well because part of the speaker’s role is to serve on a committee called the reference committee, which is a group that helps people guide and craft their emotions in a way that’s specific. And so it’s really helpful for that, but it’s helpful when you’re trying to facilitate a group of 400. You have to be able to listen and kind of hear and try to sense where people are going. Cause they kind of know where they want to go. They don’t always know how to get there. So I think that really helped. But then, you know, early on I became a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians, which has a lot of great educational resources. So that’s how I learned a lot about, more about the intricacies of Robert’s rules. And I was really lucky that I got to serve for seven years.

Sue Griffin:                   06:39                So I’m from Wisconsin, and Illinois runs a state assembly like New York does. So I served as their parliamentarian for several years. And so, you know, again, I wasn’t running the meeting, but I had to understand it. I had to prepare it, it had to help me learn how to anticipate when amendments might be coming, how would you handle them. And so it really taught me a lot about how to prepare for the meeting in a way because you never want to be surprised if you can avoid it. So I would say those are really the main things that helped me prepare for the speaker role in particular.

Jenna Kantor:                07:15                I love that because there’s not one way. What are other jobs, as obviously from what you got to be part of was helpful, What are other jobs that you would recommend people try to be appropriate for your position?

Sue Griffin:                   07:34                I think anytime you can be in a position where you are responsible for facilitating, so certainly, you know, being a chapter president, but even, you know, running a committee meeting. So, I think those are good roles. There’s a position on the board of directors called the Vice Speaker of the house. So that person becomes obviously intimately involved.

Jenna Kantor:                08:00                So going back to that question, so what jobs, aside from the ones that you just mentioned, would you recommend people could take on in order to be appropriate for your position if they were looking and going, oh, one day I’ll be Sue Griffin.

Sue Griffin:                   08:19                Well probably one thing I should’ve mentioned that I didn’t and it’s you really need to be a delegate to the house of delegates, right? I mean, I did that for 15 years at least. So they need to be a delegate and that really helps them, I think link into other, I mean, at least to help me link into other opportunities, either at the chapter or section level so that they can kind of figure out their path. But again, being a secretary I think is a really good role. Anything where they have to run a meeting so they could be like even a SIG chair or a, you know, a committee chair. It doesn’t have to be president, but certainly being chapter president could help because you obviously have to run meetings. Being on the reference committee is phenomenal. I mean it gives you a great role. And then we also have another position on the board called the Vice Speaker of the house of delegates. And sometimes people who’ve been in the vice speaker wanted to go to speaker and sometimes they haven’t. So I mean it’s not obligatory of course. And it’s not required to be vice speaker, but those are some other ideas or options I would say.

Jenna Kantor:                09:20                Awesome. I love that. And what motivated you to work specifically towards this position? Cause there’s a lot of positions that make a great difference in the APTA. So what made you go this is the fit for me.

Sue Griffin:                   09:33                Yeah, that’s actually the only one I’ve ever really wanted. And you know, my very first probably hour as delegate, you know, back in 1995, I just was captivated by the formality of the proceedings. I was captivated by how he managed everything and how he really helped people accomplish their work. And that was very appealing to me to be able to help people move forward and accomplish what they wanted to do.

Jenna Kantor:                10:01                What is something you have accomplished in this position that makes you so proud? There may be many.  I can see your brain going tick, tick, tick. Oh Gosh, there’s a lot. But I would love to hear one or maybe a few that pop in your head.

Sue Griffin:                   10:14                Well, it’s funny cause you know, I’m a Midwesterner so I can’t be proud of myself for anything. You know, I can be proud of other people.

Jenna Kantor:                10:21                That counts, that counts. We’re all in this together, so I would love to hear that.

Sue Griffin:                   10:25                I mean I’m really proud of how the delegates work really hard. Well first of all I guess I’ve been really honored because they really have put a lot of trust in me and so they have allowed me to help them enact procedures and activities that make the house more efficient. And so I’m really proud of how people who’ve been really entrenched in something that’s really formal and very traditional laden had been really willing to change and to take on change and to try different things and procedures to see if we can improve. I feel like the association on the whole is like on the cusp of really bold things and so I’m really proud of being able to help the house as a major decision making body try to also change in ways that are kind of in lock step with that boldness. I’m really proud of all the work the house created for the first time in my knowledge, a special committee to do a complete revision of every single policy position, standard document guideline in our whole association, like 350 documents and they’ve done this over the course of two years. So I’m really proud of their work and again, how they’ve really elevated the level of work and function of the house. So that’s pretty cool.

Jenna Kantor:                11:40                That is. That is, and you’ve been around for all of it to happen. I love that. What goals are you working towards now or goal that you are working on in your position to just up the ante. Make it even better.

Sue Griffin:                   11:52                I think it’s just kind of that same thing right? Like trying to continue to move on with that progression, stay in with the boldness, we’re all moving into our next century, right. As a profession and as an association. So I think again, you know, people don’t come together and meet in the same way that they did 50 years ago and the house is 75 years old this year. That’s very exciting. It’s got a solid feel. So you know, we don’t do these things, obviously nobody works the way they worked even 10 years ago. And people I think think differently and want to interact differently than maybe they did 10 or 20 years ago.

Sue Griffin:                   12:38                So in order for the house to be meaningful and be a way for people to make decisions, it has to allow processes that are comfortable to people in that they facilitate the way they’re used to working together.

Jenna Kantor:                                        Oh yeah, absolutely. Final question. Why do you love the APTA?

Sue Griffin:                                           Oh Man. Cause I said, you know, this is the best profession ever. And to be able to come together with a group of like minded, passionate, brilliant people, to be able to, you know, move our profession forward and to get people to access physical therapy who really need it. There’s nothing better.

Jenna Kantor:                                        Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. Thank you so much for coming on and just sharing your passion and also helping people understand not only what you do, but if they want to be the next Sue Griffin, how they could do it. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Sue Griffin:                                           Well, thank you for having me on and everybody should go be a delegate.



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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.