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AMTA 2021 Election: Candidate Responses to Question 2

August 11, 2021 12:26 PM
AMTA Officer Election 2021

American Music Therapy Association Election
Candidates for 2022-2023 Term

Important Announcement from Amber Weldon-Stephens, Nominating Committee Chair, Immediate Past President

Hello AMTA Members!
Thank you for taking the time to read the second of 4 questions answered by our 4 officer candidates for you to get to know them, their backgrounds, and their heart for service to our profession and AMTA. If you have any questions for our candidates or the election process, please reach out to me at
- Amber Weldon-Stephens,
Nominating Committee Chair,
Immediate Past President

Vice President Elect Officer Candidates

  • Leslie Henry, MM, MT-BC
  • Jennifer Sokira, MMT, LCAT, MT-BC

President Elect Candidates

  • Angie Snell, MSEd, MT-BC
  • Wendy Woolsey, MA, MT-BC


Candidate Responses to Question 2

Vice President Elect Candidate, Leslie Henry, MM, MT-BC (she, her, hers):


How would you describe your leadership style and how do you envision this style enhancing the work of the Board of Directors and the mission of AMTA?

I believe we all have a responsibility to participate in courageous conversations for our association to evolve.

My leadership style is a collaborative, bottom-up approach that invites others to participate and provide multiple perspectives.  When we seek the opinions and ideas of others, remain curious and understand there is more than one approach to the issues we face then we have a chance to transform into something wonderful and inclusive that represents all. 

We are at a defining moment within the profession of music therapy.  Although we are still asked the question "what is music therapy?"; more people have a greater awareness of the profession and its merits.  The field is growing quickly but it is important to examine if our field is accessible to all who wish to study music therapy, are music therapists, and to those who want to receive our services.

What is it that motivates people to become members? What are the barriers?  How can we strengthen the field? How do we add voices with care as we make a change? We need to explore these questions and develop a diverse chorus for music therapists to share, listen and create actionable change moving us into a strong future. 

Vice President Elect Candidate, Jennifer Sokira, MMT, LCAT, MT-BC (she, her, hers):


How would you describe your leadership style and how do you envision this style enhancing the work of the Board of Directors and the mission of AMTA?

My leadership style is transformational, collaborative and trauma-informed, and these styles have developed through different roles and opportunities to serve the profession and my community.  My leadership style has also evolved through and been informed by my experiences responding to community trauma and gaining insight into the ways in which these dynamics impact both individuals and the systems through which people are served.  I believe that this style can bring perspective on how to approach systemic challenges as well as places value on collective support and change.

AMTA must center the needs and contributions of music therapists and music therapy students, just in the way that music therapists must center the needs of our clients and advocate for transformation where needed both individually and systemically. As AMTA’s mission suggests, we live in a “rapidly changing world”, and working to help our association attune to this rapid pace of change must be a crucial focus of the board of directors.

I embrace the core values of our AMTA Code of Ethics- kindness, social responsibility, dignity/respect, equality, accountability, excellence, integrity and courage- and I encourage others to call on these with intentionality as we engage with difficult issues, listen to membership, and work collaboratively in service of our profession.

President Elect Candidate, Angie Snell, MSEd, MT-BC (she, her, hers):


How would you describe your leadership style and how do you envision this style enhancing the work of the Board of Directors and the mission of AMTA?

My strengths as a leader are listening to learn, fact finding, and truly valuing each person’s perspectives and ideas. People know I am open, always approachable, and that I lean into uncomfortable issues with humility and determination to be part of the solution. I strive to build a transparent, trusting environment where people can come together for difficult conversations to build new understandings and solutions. This requires team building, effective communication, admitting mistakes, and experiencing tension together without fracturing our passion for music therapy.

As Speaker, I have the privilege of experiencing the difficulties and benefits of listening. An example is the Integrative Policies and Procedures Assembly Work Group formed to examine gaps in policies regarding harassment, sexual harassment, and assault. The Assembly sought group members beyond the Assembly to involve those with relevant expertise. The short term, yet powerful assignment created information and actionable recommendations within months. This is allowing the Board to take immediate action and build long-term capacity to address a complex problem.  

Establishing new norms for listening is critical to our steps toward meaningful change, change that makes us stronger rather than dividing and destroying us. The value of building a transparent, trusting, and equitable environment within the Board of Directors creates a culture that values questions, values rival viewpoints, and builds resiliency when nothing is certain or guaranteed. It opens space to share the promises and burdens across our field rather than within a narrow or exclusive circle. I am ready to stand with you.

President Elect Candidate, Wendy Woolsey, MA, MT-BC (she, her, hers):


What grass roots experience(s) have you had that might contribute to your leadership ability?

I strive to lead with integrity and transparency, while taking responsibility for furthering the mission, following the vision, and supporting a strategic plan. My leadership starts with self-reflection and education as I learn from mistakes; do the work to be informed, accessible, responsive, and a resource to those I work with, and those we serve. I believe meetings should be informative, productive, and fun; all should feel heard, valued, and appreciated. Meetings should include representation of music therapy stakeholders sharing their truths, expertise, and speaking into each discussion. I listen to the facts, details, and wisdom of others, ask questions, challenge systems, and allow time for thoughtful reflection to inform decision making.

The AMTA Board of Directors has many projects on the table, systems and processes that continue to oppress, and a future of change and growth. I believe every member has unique strengths. I strive to utilize the strengths and passions of everyone. Leaders in the field, new professionals, and students should be valued for their individual identities as each bring knowledge, insight, and perspective vital to the growth and development of the association. Each project also requires different leadership, depending on breadth and depth of the plan. I can adapt my leadership style to best support the needs of the organization and the music therapy profession. I believe involving the input and expertise of others, as well as forward thinking, will inform decisions and help make AMTA valuable to all members and those we serve.