Summary: Suddenly the enormity of becoming AMEE President hits home Description: Sitting alone in a hotel room in Norway has made AMEE in Prague seem very far away. But it has given me the opportunity to reflect on the meeting and my musings have suddenly brought home the challenge of being President of the number one global medical education society. Like all medical educationalists I don’t mind a challenge, indeed battling for the recognition that medical education deserves has toughen me up over the years. However following a president like Madelena Patricio makes me realise what ‘big shoes’ I have to fill.

Madelena is not only a first class ambassador for our discipline and an excellent medical educationalist but a genuinely nice individual who is interested in supporting colleagues and passionately committed to AMEE. Taking on this role then has caused me to look back at the various positions I have occupied throughout my career. As a newly graduated doctor on my first day on the wards I was told repeatedly by all the nurses what a lovely person my predecessor was and how nice they had been to the patients. This experience set the pattern for my professional life culminating not long ago by being told I have only been appointed to a new position because X had not applied for it! Such tales, accurate or not, tend to make one feel inadequate and insecure. On the other hand I have always tried to use these experiences to spur me to strive to achieve what those before me already have.

With experience I realised that for an organisation to be successful the most important thing you need to do as a leader is surround yourself with brighter and clever people than yourself. I have been fortunate not only in the clinical teams that I have been part of but also whilst forging a career in medical education. The staff that I work with in my present role as Director of the Leeds Institute of Medical Education are dedicated, bright, challenging and fun and it is a privilege to work alongside them. Associations with close colleagues, like Katharine Boursicot whom I had had the pleasure to work with for over a decade, have meant that their talents have hid my flaws. The support from the ASME executive has allowed me to contribute to supporting aspiring medical educationalists by providing small grants to aid their development. But now comes probably the biggest challenge of all - stepping into Madelena’s shoes. Fortunately for me she remains as the immediate past president and together with the support of the AMEE executive and most importantly the many AMEE members around the world the role the future looks more exciting than daunting and like Cinderella now I have stepped into the shoes I’m sure we’ll have a ball.