Leading at a National Level
There are opportunities of all kinds out there for anyone interested in assuming a leadership role in advancing the profession of chiropractic. Participating in national chiropractic organizations can certainly create a path to leadership opportunities. Shane Walker, D.C., currently president of the International Federation of Chiropractors and Organizations (IFCO), first became acquainted with the organization that promotes straight chiropractic when he was considering chiropractic as a career.
While still an undergraduate, Walker attended a seminar at Life College. At the seminar, he talked to doctors and other students who suggested that he attend a IFCO TRIUNE seminar. Shortly after attending, he visited and applied for admission to Sherman College. Once at Sherman, he continued his membership in the strong student chapter at the college, laying the groundwork for involvement after graduation.
“For me it was a miracle that my first understanding of chiropractic was straight chiropractic,” Walker says of his early exposure to IFCO. “I feel fortunate to have that in my background.”
When he graduated in 2000 and began his own practice, he continued to be a dues-paying member of IFCO, and after a few years was encouraged to serve in a greater capacity. Walker’s experiences have convinced him that everyone can benefit from becoming involved in an organization or cause whose “mission is bigger than you.” Recent statistics indicate that only 16 percent of chiropractors belong to a national organization, and Walker would like to see that number increase significantly.
“There’s a big myth out there that the more involved you are and the busier you are with your profession, the more your family or your practice suffers,” says the doctor who runs a high volume practice in Naples, FL, with 80 percent families and 40 percent children.
“That is a total myth. My experience has been that the more focused I am on my mission as a chiropractor, the better my relationship is with my wife and my children.” That focus, says the father of two, carries over into his personal life. “It’s actually when I’m idle and not engaged
that life gets tough.”
The rewards of involvement, Walker says, are in helping to move chiropractic forward, not in what he receives from the organization. Serving in a leadership role has allowed him to develop a clear picture of where he wants to be in the future. “Without that, it’s hard to get people to buy into your vision and to get on-board. For me that vision has bled over into my practice. The more experience I get to have in leadership in the organization, the more I learn about leading my patients and my family.”
There are many professional organizations, each with its own focus and mission. Walker found direction through IFCO, but his advice to anyone who is not currently a member of a national organization is to find the one that represents what chiropractic means to him or her and get involved.