Friday, February 5, 2010

Grassroots Network: Citizens for Midwifery Starts Our Next Stage

Dear Friends,

Well, “the time has come” as the walrus said! Here is the official notice (see below): I have “retired” from being President of Citizens for Midwifery. It is time for me to start attending to some other things, and for others to step up!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to just disappear. But you will begin to see other people doing some of the tasks I have been responsible for in the past.

I hope many of you will consider giving some of your time and expertise to continue and expand CfM’s work in the future!

Susan Hodges, “gatekeeper”


Citizens for Midwifery Starts Our Next Stage

As we go into our fourteenth year, Citizens for Midwifery is entering a new stage of life: our beloved and long-standing President and Co-founder, Susan Hodges, has stepped down from being President and will retire from the CfM Board by the end of 2010. (See message from Susan below.) Effective January 1, 2010, board member Willa Powell is our new President. Willa has been a member of the CfM board and Treasurer since 1999. (If you have found CfM on Facebook, you may have heard from Willa recently!) Willa is a mother of four (one Cesarean section, one hospital VBAC, and two homebirths after Cesarean) and has served as a citywide elected school board member in Rochester, New York since 1997.

In addition, current board members Carolyn Keefe, Nasima Pfaffl and Arielle Greenberg Bywater are also continuing to serve, bringing their expertise, dedication, and passions­ ranging from research, writing and technological skills to interest in homebirth, VBAC and midwifery legislation­ to CfM.

Citizens for Midwifery has had many successes over the years, including:
§ our highly respected website, newsletter, Midwives Model of Care brochure and other literature widely used to support advocacy and activist work;
§ our Grassroots News Messages, which go out to over a thousand advocates on a regular basis to keep them updated on the latest maternity care news;
§ our Facebook presence, with over 2000 Group members and Fans and over 5000 Cause members; and
§ our current, instrumental role in the MAMA Campaign to impact national legislation to recognize and provide Medicaid coverage for Certified Professional Midwives.

Citizens for Midwifery is run by an all-volunteer board made up of regular citizens: consumers who care about the maternal wellness, childbirth and infant health issues that have always been vital to our mission. The board members serve from all over the country, coming together by phone and in person to write articles, fact sheets, and other documents for consumers, policymakers and birth professionals; support and unite with allied midwifery and other birth organizations; conduct outreach to other engaged consumers; and anything else we can do to promote the Midwives Model of Care. We work collaboratively, we work hard, we change the world­ and we have a lot of fun doing it!

We are currently in the exciting stage of refocusing our efforts and figuring out how best to move forward as an even stronger, higher impact organization. At this year’s annual board meeting, we determined that in order to keep our work vital, enjoyable and sustainable, we must expand our board and our volunteer base. We are looking for a few good women and men to join us in our fight for better access to the high-quality Midwives Model of Care for mothers and babies. We welcome anyone passionate about our mission to contact us to get involved: while people with expertise would be wonderful, we have a wide variety of ways to participate, from discrete tasks to larger roles and positions on our board. We’d love to have wider geographic and racial and ethnic diversity, and consumers of all ages are encouraged to apply. Volunteering for CfM is a great way to learn new things, keep your skills sharp, and connect with a great group of supportive, dynamic activists.

We are especially in need of folks with interest or experience in
· graphic design
· bookkeeping
· web design and content
· online social networking

We are also in search of two new Board officers: a Treasurer (responsible for our finances, sales, and other monetary issues) and a Secretary (responsible for preparing, documenting and archiving our minutes, agendas, and other aspects of our ongoing group history).

And we want to hear your ideas about how CfM can be even more effective. This year, for the first time, we’ll be hosting our Annual Membership meeting as a Webinar, an online seminar you can participate in from anywhere. The meeting will take place on Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 8 pm EST. Visit to register to attend. We will also soon be setting up an online survey to gauge your interest in various issues and topics and better target our work, so please look for that announcement and link!

Please contact us with any questions, ideas or comments, or to volunteer, at .

Farewell from Susan Hodges:

I have been President of Citizens for Midwifery since its beginning (13 years!). I am really proud of all that Citizens for Midwifery has accomplished over the years, but the time has come for me to move on. I have stepped down from being President as of the end of 2009. Our board is embracing this change as a terrific opportunity for CfM’s development. This is a chance for us to reflect on who we are, what we’ve been doing, and what changes we might make so we can grow stronger and be an effective advocate for midwifery in the years to come. This is a chance to let go, and welcome new people, new ideas, new ways to accomplish our goals. I have absolute confidence that the result will be a better-than-ever Citizens for Midwifery!

Hello from new president Willa Powell:

Dear Friends,

I’ve been on the Citizens for Midwifery Board since 1999. Not as long as former president Susan Hodges, but pretty long! I had thought about being President of the Board someday, and assumed that when that day came, I would feel ready. Well, guess what? That day came, and even with more than a year of forewarning, I don’t feel ready!

Susan Hodges is an amazing person and all of us on the Board relied on Susan’s years of experience and personal dedication, as she led us through the necessary relationship building that has made us a respected partner in the midwifery community. In addition, Susan had and has the gift of being able to recognize opportunity when it presents itself, and that is a skill that is not easily learned.

I recently participated in a Webinar on board recruitment when a board member said, “I shouldn’t be on this board; my boss’s boss should be.” That was a profound example of honest assessment that resonated with me. So, while I delight in stepping into Susan’s shoes, I realize this organization needs more than a caretaker. It needs a transformational leader ­ many transformational leaders. The current board is, of necessity, the transition team, and our job is to find those transformational leaders who can take our organization beyond our small but respected present to a future where we will be heard and respected in every policy setting body in the country.

Do you know a transformational leader? Please share the name of that person with us, so we can explore new territory with them. Are you that transformational leader? Most people are too modest to see themselves that way, but you may be one just the same. Perhaps you are like me, and feel much more comfortable with discrete tasks than with visionary stuff. That’s great! We need you too! So if you’ve ever said to yourself, “there must be something I can do” to support midwifery, please reach out to us. If there is a change agent in your circle of friends, who has a passion for midwifery, please share her/his name with us!

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Willa Powell

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