Hot on the heels of our recent successful meeting in Edinburgh, where the INGID board held a meeting, It seems timely to hear from our past president, on ‘life after presidency’. I had the pleasure of interviewing Amena Warner about her activities since she left the INGID board and some tips for current INGID members:
- What was your previous role (or roles) with INGID and how many years have you been a member for ?
I have been a member of INGID since 2001. I had become an INGID board member due to the fact that the past treasurer no longer wanted to do it and I had had previous banking experience. I took over as treasurer in between the INGID conferences, due to this crisis, so wasn’t voted in until the next INGID conference in 2002 in Versailles, Paris.
I had held other positions in INGID such as vice-president twice and also the most recent being the president. Currently I hold the title of the longest running past treasurer in INGID’s history. I do think this position is the most important as without the financial underpinnings and money management skills, INGID could not survive. It is also the position I most enjoyed, due to the projects it funded.
- What aspect of being INGID’s President did you value or enjoy most ?
It has to be without a doubt, and very many thanks to Theo (current treasurer), the launch of the European Immunoglobulin guidelines. It was something, that as a group of immunology Nurses in INGID we thought was important and there were many ’round table’ discussions on this topic over the years, that led to their formation. I felt it was an honour that they were launched during my presidency.
- Is there a standout moment in that period and if so, please describe it?
Giving my Presidential speech when I had just become president. I was SO nervous, but it went well and afterward the president of ESID came up to congratulate me and told me which bit of the speech he liked best. ( which was ‘ Nurses by heart, doctors by academic achievement’ when I was describing Peter Vickers and Ann Gardulf for their PhD research in PID Nursing).
- What work are you currently undertaking either officially or unofficially in association with PID nursing ?
After working in the field of immunology & Allergy for 16 years, I made a decision to leave the immunodeficiency side of that remit behind me and solely concentrate on Allergy. I now work as Head of Clinical services for a U.K. National patient charity called Allergy UK.
- Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe some one who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
The person who had been my mentor and role model was Ann Gardulf. As she was a founder member of INGID, she was my ‘go to person’ for advice especially in the early days of my board role in INGID. She set an educational programme for me to visit the immunology centres in Sweden which I successfully applied for a scholarship from my hospital to fund. She also helped me with skills such as leadership and confidence in ability. She has great energy and passion for helping patients with immunodeficiency and so much of her published research has demonstrated outcomes to improve the quality of life of PID patients. I respected that.
- What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
The ability to make every person on the board feel valued within their role. This brings out the best in people and together with everyone’s individual strengths the board work together to maximise their potential.
- What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing nurses working within PID today?
Making sure that the immunoglobulin that is the life-saving treatment of the majority of PID patients is protected and always available to be given as safely as possible to the patients they care for. Not all countries have the same access to this treatment and other countries have shortages. This is a continual challenge for the PID nurse.
- Any words of advice or tips for other INGID members ?
Becoming a member of the INGID board was one of the highlights of my career. It opened so many doors, took me to places I had never been before, gave me skills I didn’t previously have and met people in various positions I probably would never have met. I would recommend the INGID board to any PID Nurse. If English is not your first language that is no barrier as it is an International group and its strength lies in the diversity of its board members.