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  • Writer's pictureKirby Clark, MMT

AMTA Arkansas Candidate Statement 2024


Why are you seeking this position?

Greetings, Sacred Colleagues! I am seeking the position of President of our chapter because I believe, just as I did a year ago, in the passion and potential of the massage therapists in Arkansas. Arkansas remains in need of a steadfast association lead by dedicated volunteers like the other candidates on this ballot! AMTA Arkansas has grown so much in the last calendar year, and we’re not done yet! I remain committed to my belief that underserved and overlooked populations of therapists in Arkansas that still deserve to be visited and heard from. I still value a more inclusive & equitable profession. I delivered on my promise I made to you last spring to reenergize our AMTA chapter. Our membership base keeps growing, our volunteer/leadership has doubled, and our resources have increased as well.

There are somethings we may not be able to change right away, but until we give it a shot- how will we know? I know that if we work together as a unified voice on behalf of our profession as a whole, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.


What are your qualifications, strengths, talents, skills and/or abilities for this position?

            Just like last year, I am proud to disclose that I meet all the eligibility requirements for the position of President. If you elect me to the position of Chapter President, I will bring the same skills and strengths to that role as I did to Board Member. I still hold my Master Massage Therapy(MMT) license with plans to upgrade to Massage Therapy Instructor(MTI) later this year, as well as maintaining my Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork(BCTMB) credentials. I still attend every Massage Therapy Technical Advisory Committee(MTTAC) meeting in person, stay up to date regularly on the Arkansas Department of Health(ADH), and keep a pulse on the Arkansas General Assembly for the latest news in the Legislative branch of our state government.

            As a continuing education provider (through ADH & NCBTMB), I am skilled at communicating/researching/writing potentially challenging concepts and managing groups of diverse therapists. I still believe that educating ourselves on the state history of our profession will help us guide our way forward and avoid missteps taken in the past.

            Since being elected to chapter leadership, I have become proficient in the online resources afforded to our chapter. Such as CVENT (our online registration platform for conventions & other events) and Constant Contact (which is how our membership committee & communications get sent out to members). I’ve also sharpened skills in Word & Excel programs while serving on the Membership Committee, serving as Interim Secretary, and editing our chapter Newsletters.

            I consider myself an encouraging team player(who doesn’t mind picking up the slack & helping others out when necessary). I believe in collaboration & cooperation among the teams I work with, I also consider myself gifted in diffusing emotional reactions and conflict resolution. But perhaps my greatest skills still include organization, prioritizing and delegating tasks.

 

What is your volunteer experience within AMTA or otherwise?

            It has been my honor to serve YOU as Board Member over the last 12 months! It has been an incredible experience that is hard to put into words. I made it my goal to attend everything AMTA offered this last year. Starting with our CAI (Chapter Advancement Initiative) training in Bentonville after the election results. This was our first chance as a newly elected Board to meet one another in person and learn a lot from AMTA National representatives. Later in the summer, I was honored to join our chapter President for Volunteer Leadership Conference (VLC) in Rosemont, Illinois. This was not only a volunteer and career changing experience for me, but also life changing as well. The trip to VLC was my first time to travel by airplane (and my first time in Illinois in over a decade). This was also my first gathering of AMTA volunteers from all across the nation. And until you’ve been to events like this, there is nothing to describe it. Before the two-day conference ended, I made it a point to meet with at least one person from each of our surrounding states (Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, & Texas). I believe in opportunities to cooperate and collaborate beyond borders. Later on, to close out the summer, National Convention was held in Phoenix, Arizona and I attended the whole week! That included Chapter Volunteer Orientation Program (CVOP) of which I am now an alumni of, the President’s Meeting, award ceremonies, and Assembly of Delegates (AOD). I really loved observing more behind the scenes of how AMTA pulls off such a massive feat of National Convention. And again, I learned a lot from this inspiring gathering of massage therapists from all 50 states! Finally, I was privileged enough to attend AMTA’s Schools Summit in Arlington, Virginia in the middle of winter. The Schools Summit was another great opportunity to gather with friends I’ve made over the last year and network with new professionals. My volunteer experience with AMTA has been invaluable over the last year and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It has been my honor to represent AMTA and Arkansas as a whole at each of these events.

 

            Within the chapter itself, I have been instrumental in nominating our Membership Committee Chair and kick starting that committee’s programs (perhaps you’ve received a birthday message in your email?). I have also been a partnership in our Government Relations Committee and our efforts have resulted in Arkansas retaining a lobbyist for the first time in recent memory. I have also been proud to work on editing and designing our chapter Newsletters. And perhaps most important of all, I have stepped up to serve our chapter as interim Secretary after our  previous Secretary resigned to pursue a new career outside of massage therapy. I wish her much success on this new venture in her life.

            Unrelated to AMTA, I was invited by the Council of State Governments to attend the Interstate Massage Compact Legislative Summit in our nation’s capital and was honored to participate.

 

Outside of AMTA, I write a massage blog and create much social media content in an effort to educate other therapists and the public on many aspects of massage therapy. This work caught the attention of Massage Magazine- who I volunteered to collaborate on a video with.

I also make the time to volunteer with my church and serve my congregation by deep cleaning our sanctuary & other buildings. I also serve as an alternate/backup on our church’s coffee hour/hospitality team.


Arkansas Online Election opens Sunday, March 31, 2024.


Peace and Healing,

Kirby Clark Ellis, MMT, BCTMB

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