APRIL 2014 • Vol. 3, Issue 2

The SMRT Extends Best Wishes and Farewell as Jennifer Olson Retires

Jennifer Olson has served the SMRT as liaison to the former and current parent society ISMRM for more than a quarter of a century. During that time she has endeared herself to hundreds of members and the SMRT leadership, which has changed on a yearly basis. Through the years and the changes, one thing has remained constant, and that is the dedication and care of Jennifer for the SMRT. Following are the reflections of the SMRT Presidents, in alphabetical order, which testify to her service.


Maureen Ainslie, MS, RT (R) (MR) FSMRT, SMRT President 2003-2004

I have been wracking my brains trying to come up with a particular event or story that would appropriately illustrate Jennifer's contributions to the membership of SMRT. Truth be told, hundreds of instances come to mind. She was always willing to be of assistance- cool, calm and collected from my early membership days when I had questions about procedure and process to my days as Regional Chair and Program chair as she worked with me and the SMRT team to provide the best possible regional and program opportunities for the membership.
Jennifer's support continued and grew in my tenure as President and Executive Board Member- she was always there to listen to the latest challenges, and innovative ideas while gently tempering my enthusiasm with a healthy dose of reality. Her calming presence and her "grace under pressure" style is well known to many PB members past and present. It’s difficult to try and convey in simple words what her advice and counsel meant to me in my twenty plus years of service to the SMRT. Jennifer's loyalty and support was solid, unwavering and unending. She is one of those rare individuals who wholeheartedly served the SMRT with true commitment to its mission and its members. I wish her the very best life has to offer today and always. MA.
Kelly Baron, B.S., R.T. (R)(MR)(CT), FSMRT, SMRT President 1997-1998

Jennifer kept me on track during all my years that I have been involved with the SMRT. One particular moment comes to mind. It was the summer of 1996. Jennifer helped me run a two hour conference call while I nursed a fussy colicky baby boy. If only she could have been a lactation consultant as well! Where have those 18 years gone? Thank you so much Jennifer. Kelly
Heidi Berns, MS,R.T.(R)(MR)FSMRT, SMRT President 2001-2002

When I think of the SMRT, I can’t help but think of Jennifer Olson. She is one of the people considered a foundation of the SMRT – a solid rock, a resource of expertise, a tremendously efficient person, and a friend. I will always remember Jennifer with her calm, soothing voice, her patience, her friendliness, and her vast knowledge in operations of the ISMRM and SMRT. While sad to see Jennifer leaving, how happy I am to see her enjoy her upcoming retirement! Congratulations, Jennifer! Thank you for everything you’ve done and accomplished. Best wishes and love to you, Heidi.

Carolyn Bonaceto, B.S., R.T.(R)(MR) SMRT President 2007-2008

The SMRT was incredibly fortunate to have had Jennifer Olson as our guide. The SMRT would not have been able to become the premier organization for MRI Technologist education it is today without the leadership and mentoring that that she provided. Thank you so much for all you’ve done for SMRT and for being there for me whenever I needed your advice. Best of luck in all you do during this next phase of your life. Live it up, you deserve it. Best, Carolyn.

Cindy R. Comeau, B.S,R.T.(N)(MR)FSMRT, SMRT President 2006-2007

During my term as SMRT President I had the tremendous opportunity to be a presenter at many SMRT regional meetings. I credit Jennifer for being my “booking agent” as when a meeting needed a speaker she would contact me by phone and I was always glad to accept! Meeting so many MR professionals globally and sharing my expertise on cardiac MRI was such a wonderful learning experience for me and I thank Jennifer for that! As a past regional program chair Jennifer was always instrumental in ensuring the success of these meetings.
I will fondly remember all of our wonderful phone conversations and her timely guidance during my time as President. I highly admire her for all her dedication and extra time that she has spent on expanding educational opportunities to all MR professionals globally. Her keen attention to detail is phenomenal as she certainly has made the SMRT become a highly recognized organization. She is truly irreplaceable and because of Jennifer we are all very fortunate to have had her enhance our careers as MR professionals.

Luann Culbreth, MBA, RT(R)(MR)(QM) FSMRT, SMRT President 1995-1996

When I think of the SMRT I think of Jennifer Olson – and when I think of Jennifer Olson I think of an extra-special person. She’s more than that, really, in so many ways. In the beginning there was Jennifer. I remember her so involved in those early days of bringing together technologists from the then two-parent organizations; she graciously adopted us as a neophyte organization and as individuals. Her spirit was genuine, her insight was expert, her leadership was encouraging, and her energy was unwavering. She appreciated our enthusiasm and guided our efforts with grace. Jennifer’s finesse is woven all through the early development of top-notch SMRT programs, publications and awards that have sustained and flourished during her tenure.
No matter what the challenge – merging organizations, expanding SMRT internationally, developing regional meetings, local chapters and home studies – Jennifer always kept the focus on our founding mission of providing the highest quality education for MR technologists. She was present for everything and for everyone. I was always comforted to see her smiling face everywhere; at the registration desk, in a meeting room or hear her voice on a conference call. I knew we were fortunate to have her on our team. I am very proud of the SMRT and blessed to have been a part of its beginning. I’m honored that Jennifer Olson was my mentor as a volunteer leader. SMRT is forever grounded because of Jennifer Olson. God bless you Jennifer. My best always, Luann.
Bill Faulkner B.S., R.T. (R)(MR)(CT), FSMRT, SMRT President 1991-1992

When I was asked to serve as the first president of the SMRT, I was in way over my head. Without Jennifer's mentoring and guidance, I would have never made it through that first year. The SMRT experienced its share of growing pains over the next several years and Jennifer was the one who consistently provided the support we needed. I also want to thank Jennifer for all her help and work in getting the SMRT RCEEM process in place and working. Over one’s life you are lucky if you meet genuinely good people. Jennifer is certainly one of those whom I am fortunate to know. Bill Faulkner.
Robin Greene-Avison R.T. (N)(MR) CNMT, FSMRT, SMRT President 2000-2001

Jennifer has always been more of a friend to me than a professional acquaintance within the SMRT/ISMRM organization. To be she was the heart behind the tin. Now "this heart" is free to be shared fully with something or someone without the distractions of all of our nonsense! Good luck, my friend! XO Robin Avison.
Cindy T. Hipps BHS, R.T.(R)(MR), FSMRT SMRT President 2004-2005

I have had the privilege of knowing Jennifer my entire tenure with the SMRT. Over the years I have always stood in awe of her patience and understanding of technologist issues. It takes a special person to maintain calm and assurance year after year keeping the goal and mission of the SMRT first and foremost with each changing of the guard. Each President brings new ideas and the ever changing modality of MRI brings new challenges but Jennifer has remained the one constant as she coached each one of us toward the common goal we all share.
Jennifer has such a special place in my heart and has helped me grow in my profession. It is evident by her daily actions that every ounce of her being is truly the warm, passionate and kind soul we should all strive to be. I am ever grateful to Jennifer for her patience, guidance and love of the SMRT! Cindy T. Hipps.
Maureen Hood Ph.D., RN, RT(MR), FSMRT, SMRT President 2014-2015

I met Jennifer in 1998 when I attended the annual SMRT meeting in Sydney, Australia. I was extremely nervous as I was slated to give my first international talk, plus I knew nobody at the meeting. Jennifer was almost like a second mom…very encouraging and positive. She just has a way to make everything seem ok, even if you are feeling completely lost.

I have had the pleasure to work with Jennifer for over 16 years now, from working on SMRT committees, to Regionals, to Policy Board, Executive Board and now as the in-coming SMRT President. Although friends were encouraging, Jennifer is the single biggest reason I decided to run for President. She does so much for the SMRT and cares so much that she makes you want to give back. Jennifer not only has a wealth of information, she has been the glue that has kept the SMRT together and growing all these years. A fitting analogy is that she has been the keel of the ship – from the very start, quietly and deftly keeping us on track and allowing us to carefully sail into new waters without running aground.

I’m going to miss working with Jennifer when she retires. She’s just always been a major part of the SMRT and she’s one of my favorite persons in the whole world. She is a fun person to talk to – I’m going to miss that most of all. For those of us who know her, Jennifer will remain a part of us forever. I hope she enjoys retired life and gets to see the world with her husband, as she deserves it. I wish Jennifer and her family the best, now and always. Warmest regards, - Mo Hood.
Ben Kennedy B.App.Sc., Mst (MRI), SMRT President 2013-2014

In hearing of the impending retirement for Jennifer, my heart had a sudden sinking feeling that this will be a turning point for the SMRT as our leadership has always had our patron matriarch looking over us to keep us on track. Jennifer’s dedication to our society including occasional problem solving which comes with years of experience has kept a constant stability which has kept us on a forward path. Our SMRT Board members are all volunteers who do these roles on a free time basis which can challenge many workflows and deadlines concurrently and it can be challenging to keep to the same plan each year.

Jennifer has always found a way to work with our leadership to always find our way forward with a smile on her face. It seems nothing has ever been too great a challenge for Jennifer and she will be missed greatly by all of the people who have had the fortune in working with her. I also feel extremely happy for Jennifer as she has more than earned her retirement and can always know that her work was of the highest standards and highly appreciated. The transition for our society will be a new phase for us and I hope we can all take something away from what Jennifer’s legacy has left behind as we move into our new era. Kind Regards, Ben Kennedy.

Vera Kimbrell B.S., R.T.(R)(MR), SMRT President 2012-2013

Where to start?...For me there has been no SMRT without Jennifer. All the years I’ve been a member and during my time on the board Jennifer has been a continual force and presence. She’s unflappable and perpetually optimistic! Every year she gets a new round of recruits to the board and every year she treats them with kindness and respect. Truly an amazing woman! I like to tease her that it’s “Groundhog Day” every May for her.
Over the years the society has grown and matured we moved into the electronic age with almost no pain. Jennifer mentored each board member and helped us further the society while forming what has become a large international family. I think my best memory of Jennifer will always be the mother figure she becomes whenever one of us has personal issues. She’s the strong one to empathize, sympathize, and give encouragement all the while keeping the SMRT running and on track. Over the years we’ve gained much and lost some. The role she leaves when she steps away will be much like the dinosaur tracks I visited last year. You can hardly imagine anyone quite that larger than life.
I can only hope that at the end of my career I will have touched so many lives in such a positive way. I think her biggest legacy in fact is us in SMRT and despite many obstacles; the success she helped us achieve.
Words can’t really tell you all she has meant to those of us who worked with her over the years. We are more than we were because she asked us to be in that ever gentle but determined way. We worked hard but she always worked harder, never took mediocre as good enough and never allowed us to settle.
Thank you Jennifer, we hope that from time to time in your travels you drop us a line and make a meeting or two. We want to continue to make you proud of the society you’ve nurtured so well. Your friend, Vera.
Julia Lowe B.S.,R.T.(R)(MR), FSMRT, SMRT President 2010-2011

Upon my arrival to the convention center in the city that is hosting the ISMRM/SMRT annual meeting each year, I look for Jennifer’s familiar face. Although there are many staff that help the SMRT function efficiently for its members, Jennifer’s knowledge and dedication to the Section should be highly praised. She is well-known and appreciated by all the past presidents, myself included, for keeping us in-line and moving forward. She has always made time to discuss SMRT business with the Executive Committee and the Policy Board members in the most supportive and helpful way.

Over the years, Jennifer has enhanced the SMRT with her guidance, her wisdom and her patience. Her positive input has been immeasurable and is equal to the gratitude that the Past Presidents wishes to express to Jennifer. We wish her and her family the best! Julie Lowe.

Anne Marie Sawyer BS, RT(R)(MR) FSMRT, 1998-1999 SMRT President

In 1987, Jennifer Olson began her career with the Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (SMRM). At that time there were two societies, SMRM and SMRI (Society for Magnetic Resonance in Imaging). In 1990 at the two respective annual meetings, Technologist sections of each society were created. In 1991 the two Technologist sections merged into the Section for MR Technologists (SMRT). In 1994, the parent societies merged into what is now known as the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM).
I believe I first met Jennifer in 1990 at the SMRM meeting held in New York, NY, USA. If not then, it was definitely in San Francisco during the first SMRT Annual Meeting that was held in conjunction with the parent society, SMRM, Annual Meeting. It is difficult to try to remember when Jennifer wasn’t there, not only in my mind but in the minds of so many of the Technologists who over the years have volunteered their time and contributed their expertise and knowledge to the growth of the SMRT, because she has always been there – been there to provide never ending support for us, the Technologists.
Of course Jennifer has played a significant role in the parent society but has provided enormous support and valuable direction for the Technologists’ section, the SMRT. She is our expert in all things to know about non-profit organizations such as ours. Jennifer is our comprehensive memory for all things concerning by-laws, conducting regional seminars and annual meetings, and all publications – since 1990. Jennifer is our non-stop resource to ensure that the SMRT continues to grow not only their membership, but also their educational offerings for the membership. She constantly cultivates ideas on how to better serve the membership. Jennifer has been relentless when it comes to providing quality education for MR Technologists.

Finally, Jennifer is a true and loyal friend. To be successful along all of life’s avenues, one must have great friends who provide support that is both candid and honest – which describes Jennifer completely. To quote Yeats “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.” We will miss her terribly but know that she is off to a new and rewarding chapter in her life and congratulate her for it. And thank, thank, thank Jennifer a million times over for all her hard work and long hours spent supporting MR Technologist education.

Barry Southers, M.Ed., R.T. (R)(MR), SMRT President 2015-2016

There are countless reasons to be thankful for the incredible efforts Jennifer Olson has done for the SMRT. Jennifer is truly an amazing person and her dedication, passion, and generosity is second to none.

I did not gain a true appreciation for how valuable she is until I joined the Policy Board. Early on in my time with the Policy Board, as well as when I was starting the Kentucky SMRT Chapter, I felt like I had a ton of unanswered questions, yet every time I called Jennifer (which was on several occasions by the way) she would always take the time to answer my questions – even though she was extremely busy. It meant a lot to me that she took the time out of her crazy schedule to offer her wisdom and support. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Jennifer over the years and appreciative of the time spent simply talking to her. I wish her nothing but the best in the future and offer her a thousand “thank yous” for all her contributions during her time with the SMRT. Thanks, Barry

Charles Stanley BSRT,CIIP(R)(CT)(MR), SMRT President 2011-2012

During our professional careers, we often have people that we can reflect on, that have been a constant in our journey. Jennifer has been a continuous influence and presence in my time with the SMRT. As a brand new Policy Board member in 2004, thru my time as External Relations Co-Chair, and thru my Presidency, Jennifer was an ever-present and consistent resource. She was there for many issues and opinions of how things should be done. One of the things I always valued about Jennifer was her ability to help us appreciate the historical context of our positions and help us understand the implications of our actions. I also admired her ability to “move on” from situations. Regardless of how contentious things may get, or how difficult a situation; once it was done, Jennifer’s word was “Onwards” and off we went to our next adventure. Lastly and to me most importantly, I appreciated Jennifer's desire to see the best in people and consequently give them the benefit of the doubt. Many people have been enriched by her willingness to forgive and forget and the SMRT is a better organization because of her. Thank you Jennifer for all you have done! Charles.
Julie Strandt-Peay BSM,R.T.(R)(MR)FSMRT, SMRT President 1999-2000

It is difficult for me to remember the first time I met Jennifer Olson because to me she has always been there, in every sense of that phrase. When it comes to the care and feeding of volunteers her gifts are many. Year after year with new people rotating on and off the Policy Board and Standing Committees she has been the steadfast presence, sometimes in the midst of uncertainty. She has stewarded the SMRT through many changes both human and technological, all with a quiet strength and reassurance. She is always available to take my telephone call, offer me encouragement and wish me well, no matter how busy her schedule.
Jennifer has assisted, prodded, and carried the use of advancing media to communicate to the membership. From hard copy paper that was snail mailed, to a website presence and e-mail blast newsletters, she has taken each evolution in stride. Her sense of humor and can do attitude helped when dealing with many blurry faxed documents that needed a telephone call to clarify. Photographs for the newsletter were black and white glossy prints with arrows physically placed when needed. SMRT publications have greatly progressed in technology and Jennifer has guided the new procedure each step of the way.
Through all the years, Jennifer has been my rock and support. You have touched many lives Jennifer, and in a wonderful positive way! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendship and care. Julie
Wendy Strugnell B.App.Sc.(MIT)FSMRT, SMRT President 2008-2009

Jennifer’s tireless and seemingly limitless commitment to the SMRT has made the organization what it is today. Having dealt with 23 SMRT Presidents, Jennifer’s corporate memory will be hard to replace. We are so privileged to have had her steering the organization through the many challenges and triumphs. I would particularly like to acknowledge Jennifer’s immense contributions to the successful organization of the annual Australian and New Zealand SMRT meetings and the subsequent growth of the ANZ Chapter. Her dedication to the continued globalization of the SMRT community has been significant and greatly appreciated.
As the first President from outside the USA, I want to thank Jennifer for making the difficulties of communicating across many miles and many time zones feasible. Being such a gentle, and thoughtful person, Jennifer’s intelligent advice was often requested and always appreciated. Her calm, reassuring voice on the end of a phone line was always welcome.
Jennifer, you deserve a very happy and rewarding retirement and if your travels take you to Australia, you will have many friends to visit. Wendy Strugnell