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Volume 2

Nancy McKinley
Leadership Award


Guidelines and Procedures

The Deadline for the Nancy McKinley Leadership Award is August 15.

Philosophy and Purpose:  Nancy McKinley, CSAP President 2001, was the embodiment of a selfless volunteer dedicated to promoting the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology, and supporting those who had chosen one of these professions as their career.  This award is intended to recognize a member of a speech-language and hearing association for his or her exemplary contributions to their speech and hearing association (SHA). This individual should have demonstrated selfless dedication and commitment to the development of an initiative or program designed to promote the work of the SHA or professionals in the field of communication sciences and disorders.

Award:  The CSAP Nancy McKinley Leadership Award will be presented annually at the Fall CSAP conference. CSAP will provide a $500 check to the State Speech and Hearing Association of the awardee, and the awardee will receive a certificate or a plaque in acknowledgement of the award.

Criteria for Selection:  A nominee for the Nancy McKinley Leadership Award should have demonstrated outstanding contribution(s)/achievement(s) in the following area(s):

  1. Leadership in the development of a program initiative within the SHA which was established to address an identified need within the state or the SHA.  Examples include, but are not limited to:
    1. increasing membership in the SHA
    2. addressing shortages within the field, including initiatives for outreach to students and retention of professionals
    3. creating legislative activity programs
    4. enhancing consumer awareness of the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology
    5. providing support to professionals in the field in terms of workload issues
    6. establishing partnerships with media, businesses, related associations or other organizations for the purpose of consumer outreach or other benefit to the professions
    7. designing innovative communication programs to promote the professions and increase consumer awareness, including the development of web programs
    8. promoting leadership development within the SHA
    9. creating outreach programs for employers designed to support  professional members working within those agencies or organizations
    10. other programs/activities which incorporate the spirit of this award
  2. The program(s) developed by the individual who is being nominated must have proven to be sustainable as judged by measurable outcomes, including but not limited to demonstration that the program has been in operation for at least two years, and evidence of impact on enhancing the mission of the SHA.  Sustainability is evidenced by length of time in operation, stable source of funding commitment from the SHA, specific impact on professionals and/or consumers, and establishment of program continuity.
  3. The individual who is being nominated must have served on the board of directors and/or have been a committee member of the SHA within the past five years. The award is intended to recognize recent leaders in SHAs.
  4. Members of the CSAP Executive Board, including Commissioners and Committee members, are not eligible for nominations or receipt of the award during their term of service to CSAP.

 Nomination Procedures:

  1. Nominations for the Nancy McKinley Leadership Award are to be submitted by the SHA to the CSAP Honors Committee by August 15 of each year
  2. The nomination must include:
    1. Completion of The CSAP Nancy McKinley Leadership Award Nomination form.  Submission of the form is restricted to State Speech and Hearing Associations who are members of CSAP.  Signature of the president of the SHA is required.
    1. Narrative describing the nomination, not to exceed three pages (in a font no smaller than 10 point and double spaced), which addresses the following areas in addition to providing a complete description of the program initiative(s) and the contributions of the individual being nominated.
    2. Background information about the individual leader, including the individual’s personal efforts which have led to the program initiative
    3. How the program addressed a need within the SHA.
    4. Why the program is innovative or exemplary.
    5. How the program is sustainable.
    6. How the program is connected to the mission of the SHA.
    7. How the program is connected to advancing the work of the professions.
    8. How members and/or consumers have benefited from the initiative
    9. Concluding statements about how the efforts of the nominee demonstrated exemplary volunteerism to the SHA and the professions. 
    10. Two letters of support.
  3. Each SHA is limited to one nomination per year.
  4. The nomination packet must be submitted electronically with a completed hard copy of the packet sent to the CSAP office.
  5. These materials will be reviewed by the Nancy McKinley Leadership Award Committee and a recommendation made to the CSAP board for approval.

Past Recipients

2007 - Vicki Lord Larson, Wisconsin

2008 - Tammy Emerson, Idaho

2009 - Katrina Zeit, Ohio

2010 - Donna Fisher Smiley, Arkansas

2010 - Cherry Wright, Texas

2011 - Laura Jo McKamey, Montana

2012 - Jody O'Donnell, Idaho

2013 - Vernice Jury, Connecticut

2014 - Carolyn Wiles Higdon, PhD, CCC-SLP, Mississippi

2015 - None Awarded

2016 - Tracy Bombara, MS, CCC-SLP, Delaware

2017 - Mary Bahr Schwenke, MS, CCC-SLP, Wisconsin

2018 - Deborah Ross-Swain, EdD, CCC-SLP, California


2018 Recipient

Deborah Ross-Swain, EdD, CCC-SLP, California Speech-Language-Hearing Association


What her nominators said…..        

  • Deb is a collaborator, who listens thoughtfully and quests with respect, which carefully considering and analyzing a situation.
  • She has a reputation for demonstrating extraordinary solution-based creativity, characterized by the ability to identify a problem or a need, then develop an innovative solution, or take a discussion point and turn it into an action plan.
  • When Deb is involved at a leadership level, ideas are germinated, grow and come into full flower because her passion and enthusiasm are contagious and impact everyone around her.
  • Deb takes on a challenge with a smile, enjoys being part of a team and is willing to expend any amount of effort to work through a phase of a project or, if appropriate, see it through to completion.


  • CSHA Leadership Academy
  • CSHA Ambassadors to allied professional organizations and associations
  • Early Intervention (EI) Advisory Committee which is collaborating with the American Academy of Pediatricians-California and is in discussions with Help Me Grow, an affiliate of First 5 California
  • Current Chair of EI Advisory Committee
  • ASHA grant awarded to the CSHA EI Advisory Committee to develop a video to increase public awareness of EI
  • Coordinator of completed multi-state ASHA grant project, working with leadership of Michigan and South Carolina to develop videos for use by state associations and professional highlighting interprofessional practice
  • Marketing committee to increase public awareness of the association and the professions
  • CSHA international professional exchange trip to Finland that developed ongoing reciprocal relationships with professionals
  • CSHA International Advisory Committee resulted from the Finland exchange trip
  • Co-presenter on results of Finland exchange and future possibilities at CSHA 2017 Convention
  • Invited co-presenter on results of Finland exchange and future possibilities at ASHA 2018 Convention
  • Invited co-presenter on results of Finland exchange and future possibilities at ASHA 2018 Convention
  • Invited co-author of International Interprofessional Collaboration: The Benefits of Global Networking, in Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, SIG 17, 2017
  • Current Chair of CSHA International Advisory Committee
  • Contracted with one of the top lobbying firms in the state Capital, Sacramento
  • CSHA Legislative Day as a BHSM activity for members to attend and meet with legislators and staffers to increase awareness of the professions and discuss legislative priorities
  • CSHA SLP Day as BHSM activity initiated to honor SLPs and increase public awareness of the profession
  • Appointed CSHA member with expertise in dyslexia to the California Department of Education Dyslexia Guidelines Task Force, for SLPs to have input into the state guidelines (published)
  • Ongoing efforts with Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) and California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to increase awareness of education, training and knowledge of Clinical Fellows (CFs) and Speech­ Language Pathology Assistants (SLPAs) to allow them under appropriate supervision to provide early intervention services at Regional Centers throughout the state to increase the number of children served
  • CSHA Bylaws update and revision was ongoing during her term
  • CSHA Liaison to NSSLHA in California to increase student involvement in CSHA throughout the state
  • Knowledge Bowl, initiated at the CSHA 2017 Annual Convention, has grown in number of universities participating and increased student and university involvement in CSHA
  • Increased quality and quantity of CSHA Annual Convention programing for medical SLPs to increase convention participation and association membership
  • Current member of the ASHA Government Relations and Public Policy Board (GRPPB)


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