stepThrough its diversity recruitment initiatives, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is helping to ensure a more culturally competent workforce, as well as respond to the growing and changing population with communication disorders.

ASHA earned the industry’s highest honor, a 2014 ASAE Summit Award for its Minority Student Leadership Program (MSLP) and Student to Empowered Professional (S.T.E.P.) programs for the results they have achieved in ensuring racial and ethnic recruitment and retention in the discipline of human communications sciences and disorders.

“We all stand to reap the benefits of increased diversity within our professions,” said Vicki Deal-Williams, ASHA’s Chief Staff Officer for Multicultural Affairs. “MSLP and S.T.E.P. alumni are already serving communities by working in schools, health care, and academia in the United States and abroad.”

The MSLP provides students from emerging majorities with opportunities to explore leadership within ASHA, increase their awareness of the association’s resources and its governance, and offers networking opportunities with association leaders. Since 1999, close to 500 students have participated in the MSLP, and the program has contributed to cultivating leaders in the Association and in the professions. The S.T.E.P. mentoring program connects students with experienced mentors in meaningful, one‑to‑one mentoring relationships; supports mentoring relationships through guided learning experiences and online resources, information, and inspiration; and facilitates the continued recruitment and retention of racial/ethnic minority students.

Congratulations and thank you to ASHA for filling a vital need for the nation, as well as raising the visibility for how the association community enriches the lives of people every day.

Member Spotlight, brought to you by ASAE and The Power of A, was created to showcase how associations create a better America and world.  If you would like to have your organization’s efforts featured in a future Member Spotlight, please email Mary Kate Cunningham at