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AMTA Election: Candidate Responses to Question 1

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!
Below is the first of four questions answered by our four 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 stephensa@fultonschools.org
- 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 1

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

Leslie_Henry

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

While I am naturally drawn to and enjoy leadership, I have great respect for and am fulfilled when working together with others toward a common goal. It is the people that are the most important to any movement or organization.

During my professional career, I have served as Vice President (1996-2000) and President (2000-2004) of the Wisconsin Chapter of Music Therapy, Co-Chair for the Great Lakes Region Conference in (1999 & 2005), GLR Representative to the Professional Advocacy Committee (2009-2015) and Chair (2015-Present).

When our local school music department experienced budget reductions, I was inspired to serve as the Band Boosters President from 2009-2015 and Music Parents President from 2010-2019.  Additionally, the school district invited me to part of a visioning group 2010-2011, 2013 & 2017, and served as a canvasser in 2018 for a successful referendum supporting funding additional music positions.

I have taken graduate courses on grant writing and arts leadership and worked in non-profit, for-profit, and government music therapy positions.

At Alverno College where I am Director of Music Therapy, I teach graduate-level Advocacy and Grant writing for MT’s, am a facilitator for a summer book club for the book, “Waking up White: Finding Myself in the Story of Race,” and a member of the Alverno College DEI committee.

These experiences have taught me that collaborative leadership depends on listening to and working with others, both advocating for and challenging ideas, discipline, and innovation through the people that make up an organization. 

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

Jennifer_Sokira

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

As a business owner, the experiences of creating an organization, building a team, and collaborating in my community have taught me, among various lessons, the value of being present and listening openly to what is being said (or not said) by my clients and staff. 

I have also been involved in music therapy organizations since my time as an undergraduate student, and this grassroots involvement has helped me hone skills in developing and implementing processes (NER Conference Registration Chair), communicating with colleagues about their concerns about the association (Membership Committee), patience and persistence (Assembly of Delegates) and advocacy (Government Relations Committee and the CT Task Force). 

As I built on these skills I was honored to serve as NER President. This experience helped me grow in my sense of diligence, collaboration, and teamwork with my colleagues.  As a member of the Ethics Board, I have been challenged to grow in my ability to clarify professional values, to help others to navigate multiple perspectives, and to listen objectively. 

Through all of this, I am grateful to have been challenged to engage in learning that has helped me explore the roles of privilege and power in my personal and professional life and navigate how this learning applies to the decisions I make as a leader and person.  I continue to learn to embrace imperfection and vulnerability as strengths and I am very grateful for the ways my colleagues have entrusted me with these opportunities as well as challenged me to grow.

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

Angie_Snell

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

There are many grass roots experiences that have shaped my leadership abilities and influenced a passion to do what I can to be part of systemic change. It is impossible to ignore the barriers and inequities created by restrictive rules, attitudes, biases, power imbalances, and limited funding. This reality has driven me to be involved in an imperfect system to influence improvements rather than become complacent.  

As a clinician, I have valuable experience in building music therapy programs, events, community outreach, local grants, and navigating regulatory affairs and organizational structures. The following are a few of these significant efforts:

  • Music therapy inclusion in the Michigan Mental Health Code
  • Established two large school district music therapy programs
  • Successfully advocated for countywide IEP-based MT services
  • Michigan Music Therapists nonprofit status
  • GLR Strategic Planning: changed norms, established priorities, improved conference planning
  • Facilitation of AMTA Assembly of Delegates during historical calls for systemic change

Essential Take-Aways Learned

  • The following are critical:
    • A focus on client dignity, autonomy, and rights
    • Facts, listening to understand, embracing difficult conversations
    • Demand inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives
    • An understanding of current power structures
    • Coalition-building
    • Self-reflection
    • Votes, wording of rules, attitudes, and perceptions matter
    • Effective communication, transparency

Experiences such as these motivated my graduate work in educational and organizational leadership. I have learned that difficult times can bring tremendous opportunity when people unite behind a common vision.

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

Wendy_Woolsey

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

I refuse to be a bystander while life unfolds around me. I am committed to being informed and involved to participate in meaningful collaborations. I choose to add my voice to conversations and join organizations to better understand perspectives, connect with people with like and differing opinions and challenge my norms and values.

My appointment as newsletter editor and Second Vice President of WRAMTA started my professional journey of being an informed consumer, connecting, and working actively in support of the music therapy profession from my home, region, and nationally. Being in private practice helped grow my advocacy skills as I cultivated relationships with clients and administrators, connected with grant sources, and shared the value of music therapy. In the early years of the music therapy program at Seattle Pacific University (SPU), I was funded by the Wilson Trust Grant to develop community practicum partnerships to support the growth of the music therapy program. That led to my position as an instructor of music therapy and the clinical coordinator at SPU. The last several years I have been part of the Washington State recognition task force, long term advocacy and bridge building with the hope of systemic change and access to music therapy across the state.

Many voices have joined me in grassroots efforts which have not been without mistakes. Mistakes I learn from, seek to educate myself and do better moving forward. The biggest mistake would be to stop trying. Our clients and future music therapists deserve better.

 

 

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