Q&A: Association evolution

Linda Suydam

Consumer Healthcare Products Association president Linda Suydam in March announced her retirement, effective at the end of the year, at the association’s Annual Executive Conference, and is headed Southwest to pursue interests “less Washingtonian,” she said during her address at the conference. Many have credited Suydam, who joined the CHPA from the Food and Drug Administration, for helping foster unity among the association and its partners. During her tenure, she said, the CHPA adopted a winning formula: enlist the help of partners, develop an evidence-based plan and employ all resources available from all the different stakeholders. Drug Store News caught up with Linda Suydam in May to discuss her time at the CHPA and what may be in store for her successor.

Drug Store News: Looking back, how has the role of the CHPA changed and/or evolved?

Linda Suydam: The CHPA has continued to grow and evolve in the eight years I have been here. As the environment changes, our members change, and we—as the association that represents them—must adapt as well. Our efforts to promote the safe use and safekeeping of children’s cough-and-cold medicines obviously is a major ongoing project, and all of our work on ingredient defense has grown significantly. Obviously, this is in response to changes in the regulatory environment.

DSN: Which CHPA initiative during your tenure are you either the most proud of or you think had the greatest impact on the industry?

Suydam: I am very proud of the establishment of the CHPA Educational Foundation and its Web site, OTCsafety.org. Providing an online resource on the safe and effective use of OTC medicines, combined with all of our educational efforts and partnerships, is the work that has impacted the consumer the most.

DSN: What would be your advice to the incoming CHPA president in 2011?

Suydam: My advice to my successor is that he or she should stay in close communication with the members and their evolving needs. That is the most important thing any association executive can do. But it also is incredibly important to honor the good work your staff is doing and stick to your principles.

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