Estrella adds notch to belt

Saturday, February 28, 2009

NEW BEDFORD, Mass.--There are 3,500 professionals who hold the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential, but only a handful helping to lead the HME industry. In January, Karyn Estrella, executive director of New England Medical Equipment Dealers (NEMED), joined those ranks. Estrella spoke with HME News recently about the difficulty of earning the credential - “Two weeks into it, I started to question myself, ‘Should I go forward?’” she said - and what it means for her members.

HME News: What motivated you to obtain the CAE credential?

Karyn Estrella: When I realized that NEMED was going to be my home for a while, because I love this industry so much, I decided I wanted to make sure that I was running the association the way it should be run.

HME: Was the process difficult? Estrella: After going through the process, I can understand why so few professionals have the credentials. From August, when I sent in my application, to December, when I took the test, I spent most of my weekends reading. I had weekly conference calls with other CAE candidates to review materials. I took practice tests.

HME: How will earning the CAE credential help you improve NEMED?

Estrella: What made me feel good, while I was reading the textbooks, was that I realized I was on target with a lot of what we do here. But there are things, mostly office-related things, that we could do, like develop whistle-blower and document destruction policies.

HME: Will there be changes that members will notice?

Estrella: They won’t see an awful lot of change. But going through this process, I realized I really want to reach out to them more. I feel we have a pretty good pulse on what’s going on with our members, but I want them to feel more a part of the organization. I want them to feel like they have input on things like educational programs.