The conference room was a little cold, or was it warm? My hands were clammy. I had zero appetite, but at least I had (what I hoped resembled) a smile pasted on my face. A whisper inside my head told me I should probably just excuse myself and go back home. Many of the instructors in the room had close to a decade (or more) of teaching experience under their belt and I was completely intimidated by their expertise. Introductions began and as the President spoke to the assembled group, I thawed out and began to have confidence that my tongue would not swell up, rendering me unable to speak when it was my turn.
Four years ago this was me during my first NACEF meeting. I had been invited to attend as a prospective new board member to get to know the volunteer board of NACEF, and see if it felt like an organization I wanted to invest my time in. Although I had been teaching newborn care and breastfeeding classes for 3 years at that point, and was also co-founder of a childbirth education business, I was not sure what I could contribute to a group with so much collective experience in the birth, postpartum, and lactation world in Portland.
Back to my first meeting.
All eyes in the room swiveled to me, and President Barb Buckner Suarez asked me the same question she had posed to the other potential new board members. “Do you have ideas for NACEF?”
My answer back then is the same thing that drives me today. It is my motivation behind working hard for NACEF and continually striving to serve our constituents, even when that means adapting in new and unfamiliar ways. I would love NACEF to live up to its name: Northwest Area Childbirth Educators Forum. That first word “Northwest” does not mean NW Portland, or the NW corner of Oregon. NACEF was founded in 1986 as an organization offering affordable, local trainings and conferences to the Northwest of the United States. My hope is that our conferences will continue to reach out to educators in all parts of the Pacific Northwest and become a trusted mainstay in their journey to gather CEUs and network with others.
Over the past four years I have served as Marketing Chairwoman and President Elect as well as a General Board Member. Now it is my very great honor to be serving as the incoming President of NACEF for the new term. Please join me in inviting our sisters and brothers in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Eastern Oregon (shoot I’ll even take NorCal) to our upcoming community events. Let’s work together in this changing climate of collaborative healthcare to keep our work relevant and vital, and hopefully have some fun while we’re at it. The NACEF Board is always open to hearing your ideas and feedback, so feel free to post on our Facebook page, tag us in a Tweet, or even drop an old-fashioned email to infoatNACEFdotnet.
Happy New Year!