As said in our last post, MWB had an amazing first year. There were bumps in the road along the way but we all came together to not just help other MTs in our profession but also help each other as the organization grew into the non-profit it is today. With a strong Board of Directors to birth and develop Massage Without Borders, we really made a lot of strides. Now it is time for those members to step-down and say goodbye as a new eager group of board members come into place for the coming term.
As they get ready to pass on the legacy they leave, they have given us advice, instructions, helpful tips, and big shoes to fill. I spoke with the "mother" of MWB, Executive Director Gloria Coppola about what she hopes Massage Without Borders does in the coming year and what advice she had for us who are stepping into these positions. Here is what she had to share:
In the last year we have seen MWB grow in various ways...what accomplishment are you most proud of?
"I am most proud of a community that came together quickly to help our colleagues. ABMP, Massage Magazine, Educators and massage companies never hesitated to help the mission. I also want to thank all my students who were also right there to support every fundraiser event we held. I know without them, we would not have been as successful. They are awesome! As a result of all these individuals we were help to create a natural crisis fund, medical fund and scholarship fund. Quite an amazing accomplishment that I still cannot fully believe!"
What obstacles did you have to overcome during your term?
"The main obstacle was learning how to run a 'virtual' business. It's very different than having people in an office. It took a bit of creative thinking and managing. It was no easy feat to communicate with volunteers, regional coordinators and board members in different time zones.
The other challenge is determining who qualifies for funds. It is so hard when you can't help everyone that is in severe crisis. We did our best with what we had and what we were capable of doing while we initiated this non profit."
What would you like to see happen with the organization in the coming year?
" I would love to see MWB continue to grow for our colleagues. It would be wonderful to get sponsors and grant monies for funds to help the MT's in crisis. In Nov 2012, we started with $0. Operating under emergency response was quite intense and I am proud to say we came out in the green.
I believe with our new executive director and president, who have fundraising background, they will be successful in this project. Now that the groundwork has been set, stay the course and MWB being the only organization that helps MT's in crisis, will go down in massage history."
Will you still be involved with MWB in some way?
" I will be on the advisory counsel for MWB. How can I not stay involved? I have passion for this profession and love MT's. I am a helper, caregiver and responder. I feel the knowledge I obtained pulling this project together will help the new board members avoid some trials that we had to learn blindfolded."
What advice do you have for the new board members and volunteers?
" The best advice I can give the new Board is EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. It is crucial for success. I was fortunate to have a strong team come together and their willingness to step up at any moment, at any hour. Develop a strong family. Know each other and how you can best compliment each other. One person cannot run this organization - it must be a team."
Anything else you would like to add?
" I would like to say it has been an honor to be the founder of this mission. It was truly God's call, not mine. I realized through this project, that my career in massage has provided me many wonderful connections with my colleagues. Who knew that I would place a few phone calls and the responses to help were immediate. I cried.
Without them, this could never have happened. Bill Fee, president stepped up immediately and never left my side no matter what hardships we had to walk through. I could not have asked for a better right hand comrade, the board secretary Kate Hudak; she kept me from pulling my hair out on many occasions (and I, hers). Running any business requires a team and mine grew into a family I will always honor, respect and appreciate, every board member, every volunteer, every sponsor that helped in any capacity. I am in awe.
When I look at the accomplishments in one short year that helped so many colleagues because of compassion in our community, I know we are all blessed."