An Interview with MAMFT’s Executive Director, Sara Bidler
Sara Bidler, LMFT has served as MAMFT’s Administrative Assistant the last six years and is now transitioning to the role of Executive Director. Olivia Newstrom, LAMFT is MAMFT’s new Administrative Assistant. If you ever want to reach Sara, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Olivia can be reached at email@example.com.
We asked Sara to answer the below questions so our readers can get to know Sara a little better. Starting with the fall edition of the MAMFT NEWS we plan to add a Member Spotlight section and include interviews of two members (one from Greater MN and one from the metro area).
Where did you attend graduate school?
I attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
How many years have you been in the field?
If you include the 2 years in graduate school, I have been in the field for 13 years.
How long have you been involved with MAMFT?
I started as a volunteer during the second year of my master’s program, 12 years ago. I always tell people that my involvement with MAMFT began with bringing breakfast items from Sam’s Club to the Fall Conference, which was held at Mayflower Church at that time. Within a few years I was co-chairing the Fall Conference and did that for three years before moving into the Administrative Assistant role.
Why did you choose to be a member of MAMFT so many years ago?
I had a lot of respect for my professors at Stout and they emphasized the importance of membership – that it is our ethical responsibility in terms of protecting our profession and a great way to be in connection with other systemic thinkers beyond graduate school.
What is something you hope to accomplish as the Executive Director?
I hope to strengthen/put in place systems that lead to greater member engagement. First, because I know how rewarding it is to get involved beyond membership and want that for all our members. And second, it concerns me when I see a small percentage of our members doing the bulk of the volunteer effort required to make MAMFT what it is. So, I would like to help more of our members get involved in a meaningful way.
What is something that people might not know about you?
That I was President of the Hip-Hop Farm Girls back in the day.
What are your thoughts on MAMFT becoming independent from AAMFT?
I wish different options had been available to state divisions that empowered work at the local level while staying connected to AAMFT. But after 5+ years of not knowing what our future structure was going to look like, I’m grateful we are no longer operating within such ambiguity. I’m also excited about the world of opportunities that have been opened to us being fully independent. I’m proud of the tough work our leadership has done these past 5+ years to navigate this transition and to do it as smoothly as we did. We were the first state to go independent and I have talked with numerous board presidents and executive directors from other states over the past 6 months who want to know how we did it and who are all very impressed with what we have going on in Minnesota.
What is your favorite binge worthy show?
Honestly, I have never binge watched a show. It sounds like a fun thing to do, so maybe in a few years when my kids are a little older I will set aside a weekend day and try binge watching. But for right now the Late Show with Stephen Colbert is about all I watch (always a day late because I’m an early riser).
If you are not working, what is something we might find you doing?
In addition to working part-time for MAMFT the last 6 years, I have also been a “stay-at-home mom”, so most of my non-work time is spent being a mom (I have two boys ages 8 and 5). That will shift soon, as they will both be in school full-time this fall. I’m one of those people who finds housework and organizing stuff therapeutic (while at the same time being a never-ending battle) so I could easily be caught doing these tasks. I also enjoy getting together with friends, bonfires in our backyard, playing cards/board games with family, exercising, and time alone.