John Lowman APTA 2014John Lowman delivers keynote address
Photo courtesy APTA
John Lowman, PT, PhD, CCS, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and past-chair of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, delivered the keynote address at the 2014 Recognition Ceremony for Clinical Specialists. Lowman told the crowd that all Physical Therapists, especially clinical specialists, have the potential and obligation to lead and "that not leading is not an option."

Lowman's speech, titled "Improving the Human Experience Through Heroic Leadership," was based on previous research by Daniel Goleman and Jim Collins, but especially Chris Lowney’s, book that inspired his title, Heroic Leadership.

He described four critical attributes of heroic leaders:

  • Self-awareness: daily, critical, self-reflection
  • Ingenuity: being open to new and emerging opportunities
  • Love: genuine caring about the success of others
  • Heroism: the ability to inspire others to strive for lofty goals

He highlighted Jenny Wilson, PT, DPT, 2008 UAB PT alumnus, who recently moved to Beijing, China to work as a physical therapist supervisor, as a extreme example of heroic leadership.

Lowman also told the crowd that everyone, regardless of job title, is a leader and that a big part of leadership - as well as growing as a leader - is based on choices they make everyday. He said those choices "are about not choosing you but rather choosing others, choosing the cause; less about your ego and more about serving others." His primary challenge to these new clinical specialists was “to go further still, doing something more, something greater.”

The ceremony where Lowman spoke, held on Monday, Feb. 3 in Las Vegas, was the opening event at APTA's Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) to recognize newly certified and recertified clinical specialists in the eight approved areas of board certification - Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports, and Women's Health.