The Value of an HBA Membership and Volunteering: Interview Series
An interview with Tint Tint Yap, HBA Northern New Jersey president
How did you get involved with the HBA and Northern NJ (NNJ) chapter? How long have you been a member? What was your progression to president; have you held other board positions prior to becoming president? How long have you been president?
I have been a member of HBA since 2009. At that time, HBA was presented to me as an organization which Bayer would like to work with as a platform to support our internal women’s leadership initiative (WLI) program. I was on the WLI committee to work and establish the corporate partnership between Bayer and HBA. In 2009, I began volunteering with HBA as a mentor in the mentoring program for three years. In 2011, I started serving on the board as treasurer and quickly moved on to VP of the HBA Metro chapter. The HBA Metro chapter had a large scope covering, CT, NJ and NY. In 2012, I took on an international assignment in China and had to leave the board. I returned in 2016 and in July of this year, I accepted the nomination to be president of the HBA Northern NJ chapter when the past president, like me, accepted an opportunity she could not pass up and relocated with her company.
As chapter president, what is your biggest focus? Priority? Goal? Objective? What plans do you have in place to achieve these objectives?
My top three goals as the chapter president include:
- Develop a vision and strategy for the chapter
- Build a strong and sustainable team on the board with its committee members
- Offer value added programs to our members and corporate partners
Our strategy focuses on the career woman’s journey and providing them with the necessary support at each stage: starting with young professionals entering the work force after graduation; to women who need to take a break from their career due to child or elderly care; to those who are transitioning between jobs or from one function to another. Last, we are also focusing on supporting women who have made it to the executive level and their needs.
Close cooperation with regional affinity groups is a top priority for HBA NNJ. Can you share a little more about what these groups are and how they differ/are like HBA NNJ. What initiatives are you working on to ensure better alignment?
HBA is working to establish a standard set of affinity group in all regions. There are five groups evolving in NYNJ: Tomorrow’s Executive, Women in Transition, Executive Women Outreach, Women in Science and Fit to Lead. To realize our strategy/vision, we started by focusing on partnering strongly with: Tomorrow’s Executive, Women in Transition and Executive Women Outreach. We started off by expanding the NNJ chapter board members’ responsibilities by supporting EWO through marketing and executing programs like the upcoming Circle of Advisors. In addition, we are currently planning to work with our regional board on a networking event for “Women in Transition”. As board members, we will also make efforts to attend the programs organized by our affinity groups to stay closely connected.
At the regional level, we have also stayed connected with other chapter boards, i.e. Central NJ and NYC, to exchange ideas and best practices. One of them is to repeat programs that have been successful in other chapters; this way, we can bring value to members across the region.
For those not currently members of HBA, what would your advice be on why they should join? What is the best approach/how should they go about it?
I believe HBA is a great platform for all women as they work to advance their career in the healthcare space. A couple of suggestions I can offer include: attending events and speaking to an HBA member to hear their stories on how they have benefited from the association. Everyone will have different needs at different points in their career. HBA members you connect with will have different perspectives and experiences, so I encourage everyone to look at the positive impact HBA has offered and make them relevant to you. Being an HBA member for almost a decade, I continue to find relevance at each phase of my career. It becomes a platform for me to grow my leadership skills, expand my network and most importantly, it’s a place for me to pay it forward and share my experiences with women who are going through a similar journey.
For those members that may not be as active as they like, how have you incorporated HBA into your work/life schedule? How much of a time commitment do you find is appropriate to allocate on a weekly/monthly basis to HBA activities?
In my experience, volunteering is the best way to get the most out of your membership at HBA. As I say to everyone, if you have an hour a day, a day in a week or a week each month, there will always be a volunteering opportunity for you. It’s important to set clear expectations and let the committee know your level of commitment upfront, this way you will not find yourself overwhelmed. Approach this like any business decision by first setting the expectation, then performing at your best, and re-calibrating should something change that affects the amount of commitment you’re able to provide moving forward. No matter how small or large the contribution, it is all noteworthy.
For active members, what is the best next step to expanding their network, getting more involved and volunteering on a committee?
For active members, I encourage you to consider areas you would like to further develop as you pick the committee you would like to volunteer on since this is a safe environment conducive to learning. This will elevate the value you will gain instead of viewing your volunteer work as strictly offering your time and resources.
Alternatively, there is nothing wrong with picking an area of comfort to start with either. My background in finance is how I began volunteering as treasurer. Later, to expand my coaching and mentoring skills, I volunteered as a mentor in the mentoring program.
For someone completely new to the HBA what activities should they anticipate/be on the lookout for/be sure to participate in for the remaining of 2018 into 2019 to maximize their membership?
For new members, find someone who has experience with HBA to help you navigate the opportunities:
- Find an event of interest and invite an experience HBA member to join you. This way they can introduce you to others and help expand your network.
- Be curious - reach out and ask questions. This is a very supportive environment.
- Participate when you are ready.