Why Getting Involved Matters with Dr. Lisa Thomson

President of the California Chiropractic Association

Dr. Lisa Thomson is a board certified Doctor of Chiropractic in the greater Los Angeles area. She specializes in treating athletes, sports injuries and sports performance. Due to her extensive knowledge in the areas of human biomechanics and functional movement she is considered an expert in her field and speaks at events all over the country.

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Episode Transcript

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Hey Docs, I’m Dr. Jeff Langmaid here with my co-host, Dr. Jason Deitch, thanks for tuning in today’s smart Chiropractor show and we have a special featured guest today doc that I’ve known for a few years now and probably is a familiar face to many people out there today, Dr. Lisa Thompson, President of the California Chiropractic Association. Lisa, thanks for coming on with us today.

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Thanks for having me. Excited to talk to you guys.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: You got it, and I want to trace it back to the beginning. You know, president of the president of the largest association, you know, in the country, I’m going to assume by a state perspective, how did you even get started with it? I know there’s a lot of young docs out there that would like to become involved, but maybe don’t even know where to start. So let’s trace it back to the beginning. What made you get interested in becoming involved and what were those first steps that led to where you are today?

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Yeah. So for me, I’m not from California, I’m from upstate New York originally. I went to Palmer, Florida, and I didn’t want to go back after the cold. So I packed up my car and drove out to California and decided I was going to open my own practice, and I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So I joined the California Chiropractic Association as a way of getting information, getting resources. They had a great online area at the time where I could get whether it was personal injury or insurance, all the stuff that we aren’t taught, maybe as much as we should be in school. So they had those great resources. So I used that and then I started going to the events and started making some great contacts and not only making friends but having other chiropractors. That could help me and somebody wanted to help. It wasn’t just competition, it was all people wanting to help. So then I met some of the local leaders and they were like, Oh, you should come to our leadership meetings. So I did that and like, things just started to snowball. I ended up going up to Sacramento for our legislative day, and that’s where I really saw how important the state associations are. We’re the only ones fighting for Chiropractic. Nobody else is doing this for us. So I think that was kind of the the big moment for me. It was already good and it was great to be involved and great to meet new people. But once I was in Sacramento and saw the impact that we have and can have, that’s when I was like, OK, I’m going to I’m going to step up as much as I can, and I just kept running for positions and here I am.

Dr. Jason Deitch: That is awesome. I’m going to ask you two questions and one which is number one, what drives you to want to give back and serve the profession to the level that you do? I know you’ve got to practice, you’ve got a family, you’ve got a life, you’ve you know, you’re not looking for extra things to do, I’m assuming. So what? No one, what drives you to to to really be of service at that level and to how important is it for you to have members that join and support what was that ratio? And you know, why does the practice in Chiropractor, how do they benefit or what contribution do they make when they sign up and become a member and contribute?

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Yeah. So I mean, part one of that is what drives me is I love what I do. I love being a Chiropractor. I see all day that I can help people without drugs and without surgery. And I mean, preaching to the choir on a Chiropractic podcast. But we all see every day I went to my wherever and it was just medication. And it was they didn’t help me and I need something else. And knowing that if we have the right leadership to kind of just promote what we can really do, I think it’s incredible. I think we can change the world. As crazy as that sounds, it’s it’s true. So I felt morally obligated to step up. It wasn’t like, Oh, I really, I really want to take all this time away from my family and stuff and just do this. No, it’s like it felt like if if the profession thought I was the right person for the job at this time, then I would work my butt off and do as much as I can because I love what I do, and I think it’s very important.

Dr. Lisa Thomson: So I also have a supportive husband and my kids who I try, and since I do own my own business, I can kind of make that work as much as I can. And I think everybody can get involved in a different way. So saying like what impact we can have, it’s different for every person. For me, it’s my big thing at first was Sports and Sports Symposium. I started helping plan that and that was great. And I love I’m a big nerd, so education was really important to me. Some people don’t have the time to do stuff like that or don’t care. We need money to. Just if you could support being a member and support financially, that helps. Some people are really good at and are passionate about insurance stuff. That’s not what interests me. So everybody is different. We have our committees and task forces. Help in their own ways, and if you don’t have the time to do it, then just being a member helps. Also, there’s so many different ways to give back and all helps. Every little thing helps.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Helps. Did you say somebody is passionate about insurance? I got to meet this now. Just can’t. I’m just kidding.

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Just kidding. Their insurance blows my mind because they want to make a difference. It’s not like they like sitting there and dealing with Blue Cross Blue Shield all the time, but they know they can make a difference, and I love them for that.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: I could not. I could not agree more. Jason asked a little bit about sort of what drove you, but I’m going to say, you know, with all the things that you have going on with all of the, I’m sure as we’ll explore, you know, the challenges and opportunities, you know, being at that, you know, at that level at that on that stage. I’d love to just talk a little bit about mindset. What are maybe some I don’t know anything from a favorite book to a mindset strategy. I feel like you have to have a pretty strong mindset. You have to have a positive mental attitude really to be able to do all the things that you do. How do you think about mindset day in and day out? How do you kind of protect yours and what are your thoughts around that topic?

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Yeah. Well, one I’ll say it’s not easy. So if I say my books through whatever and make it, it’s not easy. So everybody struggles with this stuff. I think the busier I get, the more it forces me to really be aware of that and take care of myself and get organized. So for me, my big way from my mindset is I walk and listen to Audible, so I have a whole bunch of books that I like. And lately, a lot of leadership books because I want to be a good leader. Atomic Habits is probably my my favorite right now. I’m a big Brené Brown fan, so anything by her, but those are my favorite. So I walk. I’ve got a loop that I do. It’s a couple of miles. I’ll put my my head butt or my earbuds in, and I just I will do my loop and I will listen to it. And I’m usually have like two or three books going at a time because every day is different. Some days I’m like, OK, I’ve got a lot of stress with leadership stuff. I need to do this. Other days, it’s OK. My kids are Mikovits. This morning I had I got a call from my son’s school. After I dropped him off, he needed a COVID test to go back to school today, but he wasn’t out of school. Somebody had told him five days ago. So they’re making kids test five. It’s like, so I might need a different book than a leadership book today, but it’s all incredibly important. And that and just the exercise itself to. But for me, that combination. Listening to a book, whatever is needed for me at that time and then getting the movement and also is I don’t know what if I go a couple of days, I’m like, What’s wrong with me? And then I go for my walk am like, Oh, I just needed needed that

Dr. Jason Deitch: Fresh air sunshine and movement is a great recipe. Lisa, help me understand you are basically in charge of, as Jeff said, the largest. I’m assuming it’s the largest state now. You assume it’s one of the larger associations. What can you and most things start in California. What what can you tell us about the landscape, what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing? We’re obviously living in insane times. You know, it’s the bizarro world from your perspective as president, looking at the landscape of the state and the nation. What are you hearing? Is there any good news, any thing we need to be concerned about? What are you seeing from from your perspective?

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Yeah. I mean, honestly, overall, I think things are good. California things are pretty crazy. It’s a different. I never know what I’m going to hear the next day. I mean, that example this morning is perfect or it’s like they don’t have to quarantine you and all they have to test crazy. So but overall, especially going to being president of the state association, we also have our Cairo Congress, where all the presidents of all the state associations meet and which California is not the largest. I know Michigan has more members than we do. We could really use our members. So if you’re from California, give me a call if you’re not a member. But I mean, overall, things are good. I mean, especially Congress is doing some awesome things. If anybody listening isn’t aware of the Big Big Project Project. It’s not their project, but we’re all involved with it. And oh my gosh, I’m going to forget what it’s called right now because I wasn’t planning on talking about it. Do you guys have been talking about the the big project that Congress is kind of spearheading where basically we’re creating a what our mission is for everybody is Chiropractor. And it’s and it’s everybody coming together, whether it’s a straight Chiropractor or evidence base or whatever, whatever you call yourself. Everybody’s getting together and trying to. There’s so much common ground as Chiropractor tend to focus on other stuff when we’re. We have all these battles when there’s so much common ground that we have. And to be in the room with all these people who are so different and to have everybody come together and raise money together and get excited about this together is so cool. And the amount of time and effort and thought that is going into this is fantastic. And I can’t believe I can think of what it’s called. So apologize, Jake. It’s going to be so many, but it’s it’s really cool to be in that room. There was one of our last meetings, I think, like over 60 thousand was raised in like 15 minutes, but that I’m very excited about because we all have so much in common.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: I could not agree more that it’s just it’s wild to look from the outside in and you try to take a step outside and think, you know, take off the Chiropractic hat and be like, Gosh, you know, exactly. So many carburetors have so much in common. Yet there tends to be, you know, these little divisions that end up becoming huge issues over time. And I’m certainly happy to hear that, you know, the leaders around the country are getting together, you know, kind of breaking bread and making progress towards what can really continue to move our profession, you know, forward as a whole. I think that is so critically important. I’m want to ask you a tough question here as you got started. Whoa, what was maybe one of these unforeseen challenges as president, you came in? There’s a lot of stuff going on. I’m sure that there’s loose ends all over the place. What’s maybe a challenge that you weren’t expecting that that you had to overcome? And how how how did you overcome it?

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Yeah. So I mean, there’s a new challenge every day. I think one is my first before I got sworn in and had a first meeting and then I had people coming up to me like, Well, why did you do this? Why did you? And it was like, Whoa, like, I’m happy to talk to anybody and I have no hidden agenda. I’m transparent. I’m just trying to help the profession. So it was just it kind of threw me off because I’m not a combative person at all, especially our meeting was in Napa. So after some wine, people are bringing that up. And I think one of the biggest challenges is just time management for me because I do have a busy practice and I do have a family and I have my phone, I get text messages all day, Hey, why did this happen? What did this happen? Can you? And it’s like, I don’t have all the answers. I never will have all the answers. I can help guide people, but I don’t have all the answers. And I think stepping into this role, a lot of people are like, Oh, she must know all of these things, and I don’t. There’s I have an amazing I wouldn’t even have ran for the position as president if I didn’t have an amazing team around me. I am just one person of this awesome team. Our board of directors is fantastic. Our staff has fantastic trickled out. All of our leadership lovers left leaders are fantastic. So I don’t have all the answers and I think that’s one of the big things is that constant emails and text messages and trying to figure out, OK, this is important. And then this one, like you could get to it later, but don’t stress about it and just trying to make everybody happy when I know that’s not ever going to happen.

Dr. Jason Deitch: Yeah, that is a tough one. And I both of us admire you deeply for taking on the role. It’s as much as people are like, I want to be president, I want to be president. There’s a lot of thankless hours and and you know, you’ll let us know whether it becomes a net positive versus the sacrifices that you’re making in the years to come. But I want to pick up on you mentioned more members. And it’s, I think, one of the most frustrating things for anybody in a leadership position. I’ve known many of them is what you need to do to activate practicing chiropractors, to want to get involved to oftentimes are just so focused on their immediate needs and their survival. So how do you answer the question for the practicing Chiropractor who goes, you know, barely able to make ends meet? I’ve got all bills to pay responsibilities, kids mortgages, et cetera. When people ask you, Well, what do I get out of being a member of the CTA? What’s the benefit to the practice in Chiropractor to want to make that investment?

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Yeah, absolutely. So first of all, California, anyway, it’s like sixty three dollars a month. So it’s very affordable to be a member. And for me, because I see the big picture, I see the importance of it. As we’re protecting our profession, we’re protecting our right to practice. And even though we don’t always see the winds, sometimes the little things in the background that we prevented that you don’t hear about are just as important, if not more important. When COVID hit, we were considered essential. We had some really hard conversations with some. Some political figures who may not like Chiropractor that much, and these conversations went well, we were considered essential and able to stay open. Stuff like that is huge, but on top of that, we have discount sources. We’ve got local meetings. There’s so much stuff. We have a new website that has a list of some. I see new stuff on that all the time. There’s all these discounts and benefits that we have. And third thing that’s huge is the friendship and meeting with people like we had a meeting in La Quinta two weeks ago. It was awesome just to be able to see everybody again since it’s been a while and have those conversations with like minded people. And he does beautiful. There’s so many beautiful places in California. We have meetings that helps. But there’s I mean, for me, it’s a no brainer. I give extra just because I see, like I have my dues and then I’m donating to the PAC and giving my time because again, because I love what I do. And if, like my neighbors aren’t going to do anything, they don’t care. But I’m Chiropractor and we’re the ones who are going to move our profession poorer, right? So lots of benefits, but I’m biased.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Well you should be. And I think there’s a couple of points that you made there that I just want to touch on. One is, you know, for those docs that are really, you know, ROI minded, I think that’s you brought up a great point with the discounts you could probably offset, you know, the cost of membership by utilizing, you know, the companies utilizing the discounts available to you. So whether current members are watching, make sure you’re utilizing them because that’s what they’re there for or if you’re a future member, be sure to check it out because a lot of times these costs can be offset by the discounts that are offered. The second portion, Lisa, that you touched on, I think is important as so many chiropractors out there are lone wolves, right? We’ve become sort of siloed within our practice and you know, it becomes, well, I don’t want to get out of my practice because now, you know, I’m trying to, you know, do better, am I? And it becomes this bizarre, you know, you know, circle or spiral where actually getting out, building those, you know, bridges, talking with other docs in really extending beyond your practice is one of the things that actually can make you more successful, even if it takes you out of the practice a little bit more. And I think that those are just really key points. I want docs to realize as we’d encourage, you know, everybody that’s watching and listening within California to, you know, head over to the website and on and on that note, where where do docs go? Where’s the easiest place for them to head over and learn more? I don’t think we want to give them your phone number to text you, but where? Where’s the easiest and best place that docs can get started in the California Chiropractic Association?

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Yeah, of course. So the last couple of years, we were working with the marketing team, they said CCA has, there’s so many CCA’s out there, so we now go by Cal Chiro. And so you can go to you can look up Cal Chiro now and that’s where you’ll find the California Chiropractic Association stuff instead of CCA. And I don’t mind if people reach out to me but prefer email so I can have time to think and prioritize. And my email it’s Drlthomson There’s no p in Thomson, so Drlthomson@gmail.com. And I am happy to help and answer questions. I know that that’s busy and stuff is part of the job. I’m OK with that.

Dr. Jason Deitch: Lisa, I’ll just ask as we sort of wrap up, is there. You mentioned when I asked you about, you know, like what’s in it for me? Most of what I think most associations are doing are what I’ll call defense very similar to in Chiropractic. You know, many of the best benefits are the things you never will get because you’ve been proactive and these things don’t happen that otherwise would have happened had you not been involved. Are there any offensive initiatives or a vision of some sort that can not only help Chiropractor know, OK, we’re protecting our rights, we’re making sure we can stay open, we’re making sure we have some sort of insurance parity, et cetera. But what’s the what’s the offensive vision? What’s the what’s the dream? What is if you if you had if you doubled your membership in the next 30 days, what would you do with the money? What would you do with the resources? What’s the offensive vision for the association and maybe even for you?

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Yeah. Well, I mean, really, we are a political organization, so that’s exactly like talking about parity. That’s exactly what our goals are, and that’s a lot of where the money goes to. I just had a PAC meeting on Monday. We were talking about, OK, we have a new PAC group and we’re trying to decide what money goes where. And on top of that, what we have surveys that go out and say to our members, what’s important to you? How can we help? What parity is usually number one? But things like sports physicals in California right now so that you can kind of do sports physicals, but in the wording of the Celia language, it doesn’t mention Chiropractor. So some schools won’t accept sports physicals from a Chiropractor, and that’s depending on your area. That’s a problem sometimes. So it’s it’s all the things, but really, whatever we’re going to fight for is what our members want. It’s not about me, it’s what I want. It’s not about our board and what they want. It’s what our members want. So that’s it. And we would love to be more offensive trying to compete with the California Medical Association. It’s very hard with all their millions and millions of dollars, and we’re just this little group over here. So a lot of times the defensive side is the only thing we can do. But stronger together. So more people we have as members better. So whether you’re in California or whatever state you’re in. Joy, yeah, I think a person can make a difference.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: That is a that is a great take home message, and I think you are a fantastic example of that serving at an exceptionally high level in your community, taking care of people. I’ve seen you, you know, teach sports courses and, you know, absolutely fantastic at that and then stepping up to become president of the California Chiropractic Association. Lisa, I know you are super busy and I want to say on behalf of Jason and our entire team, thank you so much for taking a few moments and coming on docs out there. Cal Cairo. If you are in California and not a member headed over, search Cal Cairo. Check it out. Become a member. Utilize the discounts and I’ll throw it out there. Meet up with Lisa at the next event and I guarantee you’ll have a good time. So. Lisa, thanks so much for coming on today.

Dr. Lisa Thomson: Thank you so much.