Message from the Chief Executive Officer: IDA’s DESTINY

IDA Executive Director, Rick Smith


“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for. It is a thing to be achieved.” 

William Jennings Bryant

The process of discussion, debate, and agreement on priorities and the articulation of a destiny that far exceeds our past achievements began in January with a series of informal meetings about IDA’s vision and mission. During those discussions, it became clear that IDA leaders were not satisfied with our current paradigm. They expressed a sense of urgency to accelerate our activities and strengthen our resolve to have an impact on the world around us. We agreed that IDA can do this by ensuring a richer, more robust future for every individual who struggles with dyslexia and other related reading differences and by ensuring access to the tools and resources these individuals need—when they need them.

In April, IDA held its annual spring meeting for the IDA Board of Directors and all Branch Presidents. Much of the meeting was spent discussing six significant emerging pathways to IDA’s Destiny.

  • All stakeholders will realize their full potential to advance our destiny.
  • Everyone will know about IDA, dyslexia, and the scope of our challenge.
  • IDA will be the go-to organization internationally.
  • We will advance our brand with unprecedented impact and speed.
  • We will articulate with urgency and clarity that reading is a civil right.
  • We will generate whatever funds are necessary to ensure that appropriate resources are available to individuals, families, and school systems.

Additionally, the group discussed the very specific organizational changes that will be necessary for us to aggressively and successfully pursue those pathways. As a result of the April meeting, the IDA Destiny Task Force was charged with articulating a power statement and taglines that demonstrate our sense of urgency and passion to dramatically improve tomorrow; identifying the extremely important things we need to achieve along each of the six pathways; deciding how we will measure our achievement along the way and agree on accountability; and identifying the organizational environment/personality that needs to exist to achieve these extremely important things.

The task force established three work-groups and—after a series of conference calls, a survey to all branches, and intensive work—attended a two-day meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, on July 30–31 to develop the IDA Destiny.

Today, with unanimous support of the IDA Destiny from the IDA Board, an IDA Destiny Management Team, comprised of eight current and incoming Branch Presidents that served on the task force, has been engaged to develop the operational/tactical plan for supporting the IDA Destiny and to provide oversight, in partnership with senior management staff, to implement the plan.

One of the top priorities of the Destiny Management Team is to launch a memorable, nationwide fundraising campaign that will grow over time. Everyone agreed that a program offering participants entry into the most desirable sporting events in America, combined with a fundraising component, would be a perfect fit for IDA. This fundraising concept, modeled after the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program, provides a low risk and high revenue-generating event that can be successfully replicated in IDA branches throughout the country. Look for opportunities around the country in October to join the IDA Challenge Team and to participate in IDA’s destiny!


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