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AMTA President Kathleen Miller-Read's Opening Session Speech Transcript

Welcome to Minnesota.  I am from Wisconsin and love visiting this part of our country at this time of the year, as I was born in October and love autumn.  This is where my roots are, and I always seem to get more in tune to my senses when I spend time in our Midwest area, which rejuvenates me.  I have lived on the West coast since 1982, and at times, truly miss the caring and loving community of the Great Lakes region. 

So, I want to specially thank our Minnesota Chapter for hosting all of us in their great state. 

As we open this session, I want to ask that you please remember to turn off your cell phones and pagers or turn them on vibrate.  Thank you.

I am honored and pleased to be speaking to you today as your association president.

Our Convention theme is the same as my focus as president – balance.  This word balance appears often in so much of the press, political comments, music and commercials. Many of our clients express they need more balance in their lives, no matter what their age.  Balance is affecting us all, and it is not just about check books.

In our board meetings and other communications, I also have used the example of music.  I think we each are our own instrument, but we play together in the AMTA orchestra.  We are part of the symphony of massage therapy, coming together to support our members in harmony, while we recognize our syncopation and diversity.

I am always seeking balance in my life and it takes real and constant effort to achieve it.  Balance and playing well together in our orchestra also takes a lot of work.  Because I have been volunteering for AMTA since 1985, I realize how much work AMTA volunteers and staff put into their support of massage therapy.  When I became national president this became even more apparent and relevant to me.  This cooperation with all of you makes serving our profession, AMTA and our members so rewarding.  You assist us in composing our massage therapy symphony, and staying in tune at all times, even when the melody gets retro-graded and dissonant.

Look at what we as an association have accomplished together all these years, even while our orchestra continually changes.   Shelly Johnson will give you more details, but consider the progress we have made since our association started in 1943.

Think about what you have accomplished so far in your massage career and how much we each accomplish toward the health and well-being of our clients.

I hope you also realize what our amazing convention has to offer us, as our individual needs are so different, such as making new friends, mentoring, continuing education, and plain old fun—talk about balance. 

Look at how we are also giving back to our communities through AMTA’s Volunteer Connections.  In the last 12 months, some 750 AMTA members participated in more than 200 opportunities to give back through massage.  There are 24 current ongoing opportunities and 53 upcoming event opportunities. Look at our involvement again with Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.  Hundreds of us are giving the gift of massage this year to those who are walking to end breast cancer. 

This is an amazing balance we as AMTA members are achieving, by working for our own practices, running quality massage education programs, continuing our massage therapy education, fashioning our profession, volunteering for AMTA and giving back to our community, while improving the health of those we massage.  This is who we are as massage therapists and who we are as AMTA. 

I want you to know of another exciting opportunity for us and for massage that is happening because of our involvement with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.  Next Tuesday, September 28, through the work of Komen sponsor Energizer, I will be interviewed live on several morning radio programs throughout the country about the efficacy of massage, especially as it relates to cancer. Watch the AMTA website for more information about some of the cities that have asked to interview me.  Think of how many more people will learn about massage because of this. 

Our profession is changing fast and the economy has challenged all of us professionally, and as one of my favorite poet/composers said in 1963, The Times They Are a Changin!

We are seeing massage therapy rapidly becoming integrated into health care.  At this convention and at special activities connected to the convention, we are recognizing this important shift in our profession and in how what we do is accepted by others in health care.

These changes could be a bad chord in our music, if we let them affect us in the wrong way.  But, I am really proud to say, we are making beautiful massage music together and we will continue to do so.

Here at this wonderful convention, we also have the opportunity to thank many of the people who help us make all of our AMTA efforts happen.  So, I want to acknowledge some of our volunteers for their contributions to the work of AMTA in serving our members  

Of course, I must start by thanking the members of our National Board of Directors, with whom I have the great privilege to serve.  Please stand as I call your name, so we can all thank you.  Try to hold your applause until all names are read.

Immediate-Past President Judy Stahl
President-Elect Glenath Moyle 
Vice Presidents Winona Bontrager, William J. Greenberg and Cynthia Ribeiro
Members-at-Large Julie Finn, Rachel Mann, Maureen Moon, Nancy Porambo, Jeff Smoot and Dolly Wallace

Thank you!

I also want to introduce and thank other National Volunteer Leaders.  Please hold your applause until I have named all of them.   If you are already standing, please wave when I call your name.
Bylaws Standing Committee Chair Cheryl Siniakin
Chapter Relations Standing Committee Chair Chris Voltarel
Finance Standing Committee Chair William J. Greenberg
Governance Standing Committee Chair Dan Barrow
Performance Review Standing Committee Chair Cynthia Ribeiro 

Indulge us a minute, please.  Let the music begin! 

We came together in harmony to support AMTA’s strategies and ongoing direction.  This harmony will help AMTA move forward in very positive ways for all of our members and the whole profession.

Thank you to our commissions and council chairs.  Again, let me read all their names before we applaud for them.  Please stand if you are present.

House of Delegates Operations Committee Chair Maureen Hoock
Audit Commission Chair Winona Bontrager
Commission on Candidacy Chair Barbara Lis
Commissioner of Elections Chair Chris Rider
Grievance Commission Chair Charlie Behm
Chapter Presidents Council Moderator Ann Blair Kennedy

And, I want all of us to thank those on whose shoulders we stand.  So, will all past National AMTA presidents in the room please stand. 

It is an honor to be your president and to work with these and so many other outstanding volunteers and our dedicated and hardworking staff.  Will all staff in the room please stand so we can thank you.

Thank you for all you do. There are a few staff who I want to especially thank, because of how much they help me carry out my responsibilities.  Thank you, Gilda Mitchell, Chris Kirbabas and Ron Precht.

I have saved a special thank you for two people who truly help me be the best AMTA President possible.  First, I want to thank our previous Executive Director Elizabeth Lucas for all she did for us.  And, I must thank Shelly Johnson for stepping up to ensure that everything at AMTA continues with its usual excellence.

I also especially want to thank all AMTA chapter volunteers.  You not only give members their local connection to AMTA and give so much of yourselves, this year you have made major contributions to the association’s planning for the future.  Thank you!

Thank you AMTA members, both those here at our convention and those not here, for what you give to AMTA and the profession. And, thank you for your commitment to your association.

You all have probably seen a tuning fork before.  For me, it is an example of AMTA.  When a tuning fork is struck, it vibrates and is used to keep our instruments in tune.  Every member keeps our profession and our association fine-tuned.  This is something no other national massage organization can do, because this association is all of us – all of us, from different viewpoints and experience, keeping in tune.  This is about balance and harmony. 
We are seeing a growing balance in massage and in AMTA.  You are part of it.

We have a wonderful convention ahead.  I hope you have a great time here in Minneapolis.

Thank you for being here.

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