Joanne Sommers, M.Ed., CHES
AAHB Executive Director
September 8, 2023
Dear Members of the AAHB,
Today, we come together to share both heartfelt appreciation and a touch of bittersweetness as we announce the retirement of our dedicated Executive Director, Joanne Sommers. After 15 remarkable years of service to AAHB, Joanne has announced her retirement effective on June 30, 2024.
Joanne's journey with AAHB is one deeply intertwined with the Academy's history. Her first encounter with our Academy dates back to the year 2000 when she attended her very first AAHB annual conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At that event, Joanne presented a poster on the "Sex Can Wait" curriculum, a project she collaborated on with esteemed colleagues: Dr. Michael Young, Tamera Young, Dr. Molly Laflin, and Dr. Steven Horowitz from Bowling Green State University. Little did she know that this conference would mark the beginning of an incredible journey.
In 2009, Joanne was recruited as the AAHB Executive Director by Drs. Molly Laflin and Dennis Thombs. She has served 15 AAHB presidents and poured her heart and soul into our Academy. Joanne has served as the cornerstone of AAHB, diligently overseeing daily operations, and skillfully managing everything from the intricacies of our annual meetings to the countless details that keep our Academy running smoothly.
However, Joanne's impact goes far beyond her professional contributions. She has been a unifying force, connecting members within our Academy, and her warm, caring nature has endeared her to all who have had the privilege of working alongside her. Indeed, we must acknowledge Joanne's unwavering dedication, even when compensation may not have been commensurate with her physical and emotional labor.
Joanne has shared with me that "the Executive Director should have a huge heart for AAHB as it is a very rewarding role," and we are immensely grateful for her unwavering commitment to our Academy over the past 15 years.
Please join us in thanking Joanne Sommers for her commitment and exceptional service to AAHB and in wishing her the very best in her well-deserved retirement. To celebrate Joanne's retirement, we are planning a session at our 2024 annual conference in Savannah, GA, April 14-17, 2024. We invite all of you to join us in commemorating Joanne's remarkable service to our Academy.
In the coming months, we will be diligently working on identifying Joanne's successor and ensuring a smooth transition. Stay tuned for more updates on this front. We have also attached a letter from Joanne, documenting her intention to retire and highlighting her significant service to our Academy.
Hsien-Chang Lin, PhD, FAAHB
We have also attached a letter from Joanne