When I was developing NANT behind the scenes in 2009, I spent an enormous amount of time focused on what we could provide for our soon to be Members. In order to do so I had to consider WHO those Members would be. What do they need? What do they care about? What motivates them and what exhausts them about their work? What do they like to do with their free time? Or do they even have free time? Will they trust me enough to become a Member?
Then after speaking about and announcing NANT’s birth at a conference in October 2009, 63 of you joined on the spot. We were all so excited! We finally ‘existed’ in the world as a group! I’ll be eternally grateful to those brave first Members – you know who you are – you taught me so much. And many of you are now leading huge neonatal therapy initiatives within or outside of NANT – which is great news for babies, families, and the world.
NANT’s first website also went live that day. When I returned home the following morning I received an email from a neonatal therapist in Australia asking if she could join NANT. Australia?! Suddenly the wonders of the Internet hit me in a whole new way. Our tiny organization was about to go global on DOL (day of life) 2.
In the 7.5 years since that day, we have not only grown together in number and geographical reach, but we have grown in depth, which may be equally if not more vital. The quality of work that is being produced by our Members – clinical innovation, research specific to neonatal therapy, being asked to join our industry partners as clinical specialists and advisors, product design and invention, and so on – it’s staggering. The full realization of your collective genius is what brings me to tears at the end of every NANT Conference.
So today, I want to thank you – the 63 original Members and the current Membership that spans all across the US and a total of 9 countries. (Look at you proudly wearing your Member ribbons at NANT 7!)
You are the reason we get to be here together. You are the reason we get to advance neonatal therapy on a global level and improve neurodevelopmental outcomes for babies and families. You are the people whose voices I look forward to hearing on the ICMCs every month, whose lives have been shared generously with me in person or via email whether things were soaring or falling apart, whose tenacity for doing the right thing in the NICU is unmatched, whose collaborative efforts expand the depth and breadth of this specialty rather than diminishing any one profession. You are the ones who trust us even when we mess up sometimes. You are the core, the inner circle, the family, and the community of NANT. You are inspired, hard working, and dedicated. You are all in for this adventure.
You never ever forget why we’re here together. You never stop advocating for the small powerful humans whom we are privileged to serve. And for that, I thank you most of all.