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On this week’s episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Jenna Kantor guests hosts and interviews Cameron Massumi on new graduate engagement within the American Physical Therapy Association. Cameron Massumi, SPT is the president of APTA’s Student Assembly Board of Directors.
In this episode, we discuss:
-Cameron’s passion for new graduate engagement within APTA
-Inclusion and diversity within APTA
-How to engage in networking events
-Ways you can get involved within your professional organization
-And so much more!
Outcomes Summit: Discount Code LITZY
For more information on Cameron:
My name is Cameron Massumi, and I am the President of the Student Assembly Board of Directors. I believe that APTA serves an integral role in ensuring the future of our profession through advocacy, public awareness campaigns, and the sharing of a unified vision. However, there is, unfortunately, a marked decline in membership as students graduate from PT school and become active clinicians. It is my goal to stop this from happening and hopefully bring new graduates back into the APTA. My strong background in sales and marketing as well as my leadership experiences prior to entering PT school will allow me to bring a unique skill set to the Board of Directors. I will use these skills as well as my connections to ensure membership and engagement increase so our profession can continue to grow and become stronger. My vision is that through my leadership the student assembly can help promote awareness of the profession, increase diversity, and boost member retention. As a profession we need to collaborate, innovate, and strive for excellence. APTA is the best tool to ensure the success of our profession so that we can #MoveForward, so let’s get together and create some real change. After all, we’re #BetterTogether!
For more information on Jenna:
Jenna Kantor (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. I’m here with Cameron Massumi who is currently the APTA student assembly president, all those things, however you prefer to pronounce it. First of all, Cameron thank you so much for coming on. First of all, it is a joy to interview this gentleman before we go into our topic on new grads. Cameron is one of those rare bulls who has massive stamina where he ran twice to become part of the student assembly. And that alone just shows that if you’ve seen the movie Rudy where he never gives up on his dream, Cameron, you definitely exemplify that. So thank you for being a person with the stamina to run again. And very, very well represent students at large.
Cameron Massumi: 00:49 Oh, thank you for that Jenna. I have to say that I wouldn’t say it’s a stamina aspect more than it’s just perseverance. I think you really learn from your experiences. I did run twice the first time I was unsuccessful. But I’d say that I gained a lot of knowledge from that. You know, you learn a lot about who you are. You really take the time to do some introspection and see what are the areas that you’re most passionate about and you find ways to stay motivated and stay involved. I was thankful to the previous board. The students tell me they really helped me find an area in which I could contribute. And so I was a member of the professional advocacy committee and did some work on playing national advocacy centers and then did what I could to stay involved and really kind of figuring out what I would like to work on the next time around when I applied.
Jenna Kantor: 01:41 I love that. I love that. All right. Let’s now jump into the new Grad stuff now. Why are we talking about new grads? Cause right now you’re currently a student. I actually am a new Grad. I’m experiencing what we are going to be discussing. So why do you specifically have a passion for new grads and have some futuristic plans for that, which we will get into in a bit, but why specifically new grads?
Cameron Massumi: 02:03 Sure. I think the best way to address this is looking at friends and connections that I’ve made. I think APTA does a phenomenal job of first of all engaging students and finding a platform for them to have their voices heard and for them to be able to network with other individuals. You know, firsthand that we can make some great lasting friendships. But what the APTA I think struggles that a little bit is retaining some of that engagement when it comes to new grads. We have no secret that we have a decline in our member basis as people transition from students to working professionals. There’s a positive in that the trend is moving forward as we are retaining more and more. I think early career started years has incentivized the ability for the association to retain members.
Cameron Massumi: 02:51 I think the fact that with our rebranding that we’re currently going through as an association, we’re finding what matters to its members and really utilizing that to make the association more applicable and more exciting for demonstrating value to members. For me as a person that’s about to embark on my own career, transitioning from the role of student to professional it’s how do I find a way to stay engaged and how do I find a way to contribute to not only association but my profession. One of the things that most of the feedback that I get from a lot of my friends having graduated is they feel that they’re going from a space where they have an existing platform to, you know, share their views and their desires within the profession to one where they don’t. So this is a passion project of mine and something that I’m really looking forward to contributing on. And I think APTA’s done a commendable job in engaging student voice and looking for collaboration on this. Individually myself, I’m looking at utilizing my state chapter to help with this. But also really pulling students and seeing what we can get collaboratively and seeing where that goes.
Jenna Kantor: 04:17 I love that. So regarding new grads, how do they have a voice right now?
Cameron Massumi: 04:23 Ah, it’s interesting question. I think that ultimately it comes down to you finding your voice. You can use social media. It’s a very powerful tool. You can use open floors within APTA. We just had our house of delegates and there’s plenty of opportunities for members to get involved there. You can become an active member in your delegation. You can seek leadership opportunities within your chapter, within sections, academies or even at national office. I think that there is a plethora of opportunities for people to utilize. But it ultimately, it comes down to you what level of motivation that the individual has.
Jenna Kantor: 05:02 I want to dive a little bit deeper onto the negative specifically for us as new grads and anybody who’s listening, not you, you’re not a new graduate currently a student. But for being a new Grad, there is definitely a dropoff. There are these opportunities but a lot of it has to do with after five years of experience, doors really do open for getting to apply for some greater leadership positions. And even that when you go, well for me, I specifically experienced this in my state, there is still a level of trust, meaning distrust for me being a new face and energetic face, a creative face, not somebody who’s been around to learn the ways of how that specific area wants it to run. So would you mind speaking on that? Where is there a voice for somebody who is still waiting to be trusted?
Cameron Massumi: 05:53 Sure. Tough question. Thank you for that. I’d say a lot of that really just comes down to you as an a association, as a profession or as a whole what we are doing to uplift and support individuals. There was a good bit of discussion at house of delegates and at next about diversity, equity and inclusion and for our student assembly meeting at next conference we had a round table and we invited some key panelists as well as students to share their insight and experiences on the topics. And it’s interesting because when it became apparent really quickly is how diversity was highlighted almost exclusively at equity and inclusion. I think that as we try to shine more light to that and looking at what equity really means and inclusion and equity, meaning truly leveling the playing field and supporting people and giving them all the tools they need to have equal opportunities. It’s not just saying here go, we’re really building up individuals and letting them get to a place where they can create change and they can make their mark. And inclusivity is just ensuring that we’re doing that with everybody and we’re bringing them to that point.
Jenna Kantor: 07:29 I just want to express my appreciation for this. With the diversity, equity inclusion coming up in these conversations at this conference, at the house of delegates. It’s great, although we do not have a game plan at this moment, which is very clear in this conversation. It’s good that it’s being brought up on the national level, not just at the state level. I definitely personally represent this being a person with a personality that is out of the norm. Now, if I went to musical theater people, I’m in the norm. My personality blends in and actually Cameron, you would stand out. So I do appreciate that it’s beyond just the color of your skin. So I appreciate that the equity and inclusion is also being included in this whole picture with the actual definitions to provide the opportunity that people, so desire.
Cameron Massumi: 08:23 So the quote about diversity is being asked to the party and inclusion is being asked to dance. And I think that’s a pretty powerful statement if you really break it down and you know, I commend APTA for their effort in or renewed effort in ensuring that we move forward with this as a profession. But it’s really interesting. You know I see a very diverse group of people that come to these conferences and in my program back at Virginia, I see a vast diversity within our student population. Inclusion is one of those ones that’s a little bit harder to utilize. Because you can’t really force somebody to do something. You have to elevate them and promote a way in which they can take that opportunity to really get their voice out there and heard. And, and I think that we’re moving in the right direction and it’s exciting times and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Jenna Kantor: 09:24 Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think I really liked that you gave that definition. It was worth the wait. It was worth it. So for me, I was just at house of delegates to share a little bit and I’m new. It was my first time at house of delegates. So as a new Grad I went there and I was not voted in as a delegate, an elected delegate. But I was an alternate delegate and with that I was able to attend and sit in the gallery, which is in the very back in order to just listen and learn, which is very valuable during the breaks I am very extroverted.
Jenna Kantor: 10:05 And where for you Cameron, I mean you are present so people want to talk to you. You have that. It’s amazing for me. I want to meet people. So I did find regarding specifically inclusion, which is why I wanted to, I was like oh I thought of this. I’m like, oh this’ll be a great one with Cameron cause this is where your passion lies. I found myself in the room, you know when you see two people bonding that, oh they know who I am so I’m going to stand on the side and wait until you know you’re kind of like smiling awkwardly on the side, you know, so I can get in the conversation and maybe have some bonding time. I think maybe one time, the whole time was it actually successful with me standing on the side because people were so focused in on their individual conversations.
Jenna Kantor: 10:46 So I did not get any networking at all in at house of delegates, which was a shame. And, as you are saying right now about that, inclusion is hard because you can’t force anybody. I think what I experienced would be a perfect example of a very, very eager beaver wanting to meet people. Cause that’s the thing. You need to meet people. You need to gain that trust and you develop those relationships. And I’m not important enough. That’s what I’m assuming where they would go, oh wait, Jenna’s here, let’s include give eye contact, equal eye contact in the conversation where you can somehow become a part of it even as the new person. So I really like how you’re bringing that up, the individual. What are ways that we as the APTA team members where we could start thinking outside of the box outside of our own world to maybe pay attention to when we are actively being exclusionary because of the own world that we live in.
Cameron Massumi: 11:46 Well first I like to say I’m sorry that you were made to feel that way. The House of Delegates is definitely crazy, especially this year when we had over 70 motions to get through. So you have a shorter amount of time and always so much to really get some of those meaty discussions out of the way that can present quite a problem to be able to communicate and network, I guess.
Jenna Kantor: 12:09 Oh, for sure. But these are half hour breaks.
Cameron Massumi: 12:12 Well my suggestion, I mean this really goes down to what are you doing to engage in conversation. You know, I recommend that if it’s something that you’re passionate about to find alternative means of starting dialogue, you know, it’s fine to use the tact where you’re kind of standing by respectfully and waiting, but there are other times where it may be more appropriate to interrupt but to you know, find a way to segway into the conversation and say, you know, I was just standing by and I really heard you discussing this. You know, it’s actually something that I’m really passionate about. Would you mind if I shared my input? Or you know, maybe ahead of time, reach out and say, Hey, I know I’m a member of your delegation or I am a constituent and this is a passion area of mine I’d love to be involved in discussing this.
Cameron Massumi: 13:10 There’s all sorts of different ways that you can approach individuals and it’s going to vary based on your personality and the personality of who you’re trying to reach out to. So that’s where I’d say it took to really start and just find ways to do it. I mean, I’m a very extroverted person. I have no problem really walking up and saying, hey, you know, I would love to engage in some dialogue, but there’s other people that are more timid and you just have to find different ways of doing it. I don’t think that it is plausible to really expect people to just notice you at all times and be like, Hey, like I see you over there, come on in. And I don’t think that that is an issue with inclusivity, more so than the fact that there’s just a lot of things going on. So, it’s important for people to take more active roles to get involved with things that they’re passionate about.
Jenna Kantor: 14:09 This is really helpful. I mean and you make a very good point here Cameron, on just like seeing the real big picture of like the barriers, even though we may be all be in the same room of just the chaos that goes on in the rooms. And this isn’t just like one thing. I mean we have these annual wonderful events, CSM, NEXT, we have the national student conclave. We had these other events which are also other opportunities and then of course the local opportunities as well. So for you, what are your future plans that you want to explore with the new grads? Because I remember us talking at Graham sessions, I believe. No, Federal Advocacy Forum. We’re like plugging all these places everywhere, by the way, attend all these things at the federal advocacy forum. And you were talking about your passions, some things that you might want to develop one day for new grads. Would you mind starting to go into that?
Cameron Massumi: 15:04 I’m sure I don’t have any true plans at this point. All I know is that I feel that the new Grad, early career professionals population is kind of a lost area. And what I mean by that is that there’s no formal engagement targeting that group. And that’s unfortunate in my mind. So I’d really like to see more active participation engagements available for that demographic. And currently myself, you know, I’m looking to kind of transition from the current role that I’m in and to more of one focused on my local chapter level for a little bit as I also work to you know, further my own practicing career and then really just find a final way to increase involvement and engagement with that population. So there’s a good number of early career professionals that I’m friends with that live in my home state. So I would just want to collaborate with them and see what we can get off the ground going.
Jenna Kantor: 16:13 I love that. And for those who don’t know, Cameron’s a champ. I cannot express enough how this is somebody you do want to meet. You do want to have in your life in some capacity because of just he is a person who really speaks his truth but really from the heart and has so much love for others and seeing everybody really have the ideal professional career that they so desire. And we had a great bonding moment at federal advocacy forum talking about this and though I have most definitely put you in the hot seat, but for reasons to really help identify that there is and what you just said, there is a gap on the support that’s available right now. It’s not the APTA is ignoring it, they see it, but it’s still there. It’s one thing to see it and then figure out exactly how can action be taken. That would be exactly what people need. It’s definitely been discussed. So I really appreciate and I’m honestly happy and excited for people in your area to be getting your wisdom and you even just like figuring out what you can do. That’s very powerful. So just honestly, thank you for that.
Cameron Massumi: 17:25 Oh, thank you Jenna. I’m just one person, you know, and I’ll speak in, like you said, from the heart, and these are just my own thoughts, but I really think that that the heart of it is collaborative efforts. You know, people from various backgrounds are gonna be able to come together and really problem solve a lot. And then as far as APTA goes, I think that they do a terrific job of acknowledging areas for improvement. And they are really actively trying to pursue avenues in which they can rectify some things and improve existing methods. I don’t think that they do a bad job by any means with early career professionals, but I just don’t think that it’s where it needs to. I don’t think that where it currently is where it needs to be. But you know, everything’s a learning process and as we continue to grow as a profession, things will inevitably improve.
Jenna Kantor: 18:18 Oh, for sure. I was looking at things like that as opportunities. I’m like, oh look, we have more opportunities. And I think, it is really good at looking at things as opportunities and you have to look at it in a positive light. So for anybody who might be listening and being like, ah, you know, waiting for us to say something bad. Like what is it going to, how in this particular conversation right now where we’re really trying to reach out and pull in the new Grad audience, like, is it gonna do us any good to sit here and bad mouth or to actually acknowledge what the APTA is doing and how they’re regularly acknowledging things. So that way it gives you a rightful reason to hope and believe in an organization that has the power to make a huge difference. They have a huge audience.
Jenna Kantor: 19:02 They have a huge following. Even if right now in June 2019 just for when this goes forward, and time passes, there’s one third of the population. There’s no denying. Even for nonmembers they have a huge, huge audience. So it is very important. Even if you don’t currently believe are not currently a member which join if you’re not currently a member, you cannot deny the outreach that they have. So what is very good news? You want to hear that they’re talking about it. You want to hear that it’s on their mind. You want to hear that they’re seeing the opportunities and are trying their best to explore it to the right thing because you know, as soon as they take action on it, they got to stick with it to see if it works, you know, and get that feedback. Well Cameron, thank you so much for coming on here. Thank you for dedicating this time. You’ve been in meetings this whole time and I was able to fortunately schedule you here at NEXT 2019 and I could not appreciate it enough. Do you have any final words you would like to say? You’re like Mic drop to people who are new Grad physical therapists or even soon to be.
Cameron Massumi: 20:14 Thank you Jenna for the opportunity. I think the biggest thing is just be an advocate for the profession and for yourself in whatever capacity that is. The APTA provides a lot of platforms for you to be able to get involved, for you to be able to get your voice out there and heard, support your PAC. You know, that’s how we get things done legislatively. How we improve things regulatory too. As an example from a student perspective, you know, lots of lobbying has allowed for legislation to be enacted to help with student loan forgiveness. That’s massive. You know, that helps not only students, but early career professionals and we’re relieving a lot of their financial burden. Stuff like that is really powerful. Don’t underestimate your voice. You have much more volume, your actions and your voice speak volumes and just find a way to get involved.
Jenna Kantor: I love it. Thank you so much.
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