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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


2017 Recipient

Mary Bahr Schwenke, MS, CCC-SLP, Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association


What her nominators said…..        

  • Mary is an inspiration for current and future SLPs because her passion for advocacy is genuine and deeply rooted in her years of servant leadership
  • Mary has tirelessly and selflessly served in volunteer and leadership positions at the local, state and national level throughout her career
  • Mary’s energy and enthusiasm never cease to amaze me
  • Mary has served WSHA with great poise and leadership and her impact on the organization will be felt for years to come


  • Active WSHA member for 22 years serving in many leadership roles
  • Vice President of Governmental Affairs from 2008-2012
  • President of WSHA for 5 consecutive years
  • Currently serves as Chair of Governmental Affairs Committee
  • Elected to ASHA SLP Advisory Council for term beginning January 2018
  • Spearheaded targeted recruitment and retention efforts to address SLP shortages and maintain highest qualified provider in Wisconsin
  • Led initiative to block a proposal by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to create a tiered licensing system in 2012
  • Authored and co-authored 4 consecutive ASHA Pathways to Excellence Grants which supported WSHA’s goals for Wisconsin to move toward universal licensure
  • Led  WSHA ad hoc committee to identify stakeholder and regulators’ concerns and licensing facts
  • Helped develop a universal licensure survey which was sent to WSHA members
  • Led Town Hall meetings across the state and disseminated information in response to survey results
  • Worked with WSHA lobbyist to secure legislative support
  • Developed and presented  educational sessions and a webinar on universal licensure  and recruitment/retention of highly qualified SLPs
  • Advocacy initiatives of WSHA featured in ASHA Leader State Spotlight edition in July 2015
  • Efforts helped to stop the tiered licensure process  for the past four years and DPI asked WSHA to provide them with wording for new licensure changes
  • DPI has currently recognized  the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Standards(DSPS) license  as an emergency license for SLPs to provide services in the schools which is a positive step towards universal licensure


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