Sandra Ramdial is the President-Elect of the International Society for Prosthetics & Orthotics (ISPO) and has previously served as the Clinical Operations Manager in Orthotics & Prosthetics at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Sandra’s extensive travel and cultural exchanges have cultivated a global mindset, fueling her passion for fostering international connections and promoting diversity within professional communities. Her commitment to inclusivity and excellence is paving the way for significant advancements in the field of prosthetics and orthotics, both within ISPO and the broader professional community.

Sandra Ramdial
President-Elect ISPO, International Society for Prosthetics & Orthotics (ISPO)

Sandra’s Story: Discovering My Passion for Associations

I have always been interested in the international sector, learning new things, and meeting people from around the world, sharing our culture and perspectives. As a student, I traveled globally and, upon returning, shared my experiences. I encourage and nominate our many diverse and talented members globally, ensuring they feel welcomed, respected, and supported in committee work and on boards.

At our last World Congress, I was honored to be voted in as the ISPO President-Elect. As a recent retiree, I have more time to dedicate to this important role for the organization. I continue to be a valuable contributor to the profession as I have the passion, energy, and skills, along with key global networking and relationships. I am the first woman President-Elect; in 2025, I will be President, and I will be working very hard not to be the last! I am seeing change in terms of the best candidates in leadership roles, and I want this to be the norm instead of the exception.

I feel this is a great time to be actively involved with the ISPO and constantly engage other professionals and global members to share their unique perspectives so that their voices are being heard and they are able to make meaningful contributions, especially at this important time as we strategically plan for our future.

Sandra’s Approach: How to #InspireInclusion through Our Work and Actions

I am very fortunate to have led the DEI initiative at our hospital and use this experience to communicate that this requires ownership at all levels by each and every individual. One area that ISPO has improved is in board elections, eliminating biases by having an objective point system and ensuring that everyone can participate in a fair process.

ISPO is in the process of creating our strategic plan, and I have taken the initiative to actively participate in this committee. For the successful implementation of the strategy, our diverse members need to be engaged. I am helping to empower our member societies globally to take action, with continuous input and feedback. To advance the great work of our association, it is necessary to remove barriers and include diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and talents, giving them a sense of belonging in a safe environment for creative thinking and open communication.

My hope is to continue to inspire and support the changes required to build and embed a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. Together, we can collaborate and create unforgettable experiences – diverse in thought, rich in outcomes, and welcoming to all.

Sandra’s Perspective: On the Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Associations

I highly value DEI principles and believe they must be embraced at all levels for the success of any organization. As various cultures and backgrounds work together, the opportunity for increased creativity exists since there are more people with differing perspectives and solutions to problems, which allows for a greater chance of successful outcomes.

By treating everyone with respect and dignity, eliminating unfair and inappropriate barriers, a diverse organization will look beyond its own perspectives or biases and see things in new ways, resulting in creativity and innovation.

I have a fair and positive attitude, which enables me to work effectively with a variety of people, groups, organizations, and communities. I believe that actions speak louder than words and by leading by example, staying true to the DEI principles, having open and honest dialogue – partnerships will be strengthened. These values will resonate with members globally and will ensure the continued success and growth of our organization.

Sandra’s Initiatives: Actions and Inspirations for Fellow Association Leaders

In my leadership role, I must continue to make DEI part of the organization’s guiding principles. One of my goals is to continue to partner, connect, and network globally to create access and opportunity for everyone’s voice to be heard. I value our differences and it is critical to reflect the diverse background and needs of the communities we serve. Communication and dealing with people are my strengths and I am committed to supporting and making a difference, as together we are stronger!

Some of our members still have a traditional mindset with unconscious biases of what leadership looks like. My hope is to change this mindset and these inaccurate perceptions by advocating on behalf of others at leadership/committee meetings and by creating fair conditions for everyone.

I continue to encourage members in under-represented groups to get involved and nominate those that can contribute to the many committees and the board. This will give visibility and a platform to those who want to amplify their voices and affect meaningful change.

We need to lead by example and we must ensure that everyone will be treated with respect, have their ideas heard, have their contributions valued, and have equal opportunities for growth. While there is room for improvement and more work to be done, I am very proud of the progress we have made by partnering with our diverse members. There is no limit to what we can accomplish, as we are well-positioned to continue serving global communities.