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NAACLS Exit Interview – Dr. Dianne Cearlock

Retired NAACLS CEO, Dr. Dianne Cearlock

Please list 3 things you are proud of accomplishing while CEO:

Fostering the professional growth of staff members and helping make NAACLS a nice place to work. Providing leadership as NAACLS shifted from process and input-driven standards to outcomes-based standards. Beginning the initiative to accredit future and emerging professions.

What were you most apprehensive about when you assumed the position of CEO?

Managing the financial aspects. But that turned out to be one of the things I particularly enjoyed. Giving up a tenured full professorship in my early 50s to accept the job with NAACLS. My first Board meeting!

What significant changes did you see during your time as CEO?

So many! The standards became outcomes-oriented. Meetings were taken on the road. The staff became much more involved with multiple aspects of NAACLS including outreach, shared decision-making, and service on NAACLS Board and committees. After a long wait, the first accredited DCLS programs. Conversion from paper to electronic records and documents. Others include moving the office to a new location, condensing meeting times, surviving a pandemic with our programs (mostly) intact and with staff working exclusively remotely.

What significant changes do you see happening in the near future?

NAACLS will have a significantly greater social media presence. Accrediting programs for emerging professions and internationally will challenge NAACLS to remain flexible and continue to foster innovation. NAACLS will assume a greater role in professional advocacy.

What has been your favorite part of working at NAACLS?

The people. Always the people. Staff, board and committee members, other volunteers, program faculty, fellow accreditors, and more.

What plans do you have for your retirement? What do you look forward to doing?

My first project is to purge my house thoroughly. I just want less stuff and what stuff there is to be really meaningful to me. I hope to spend lots of quality time with friends and family. I’m crazy about dogs – I don’t think I ever met one I don’t like – so I will probably volunteer at a local animal shelter. Finding some sort of writing project. I have that skill set and it seems I should use it for something.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

I would have the power of healing – people, animals, our injured planet.

Any final thoughts/memories/messages?

I was mentored by the great Dr. Olive Kimball to whom I am ever grateful. I have tried to pass that along to others over the years to help people reach their greatest potential. As a scientist, I was taught that one’s accomplishments are always made by standing on the shoulders of those who came before them.

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