Relationships Matter, Especially on the Board


So far 2019 has proven to be a wintery blast of many unexpected snowstorms.  In fact, for the first time in many years, we had to conduct a virtual board meeting due to a snowstorm.  My hope is that by the time you are reading this article, you will find that spring is just around the corner and piles of snow are just a distant memory.

Even though I find myself longing for warmer days, I have realized that the silver lining with these snow days has been that I am able to spend more time with my family.  Now that I am entering my second year as President of MAMFT, I am also grateful for the “family” that I have with the board.  MAMFT believes that relationships matter, and I certainly have found that to be true throughout my life, but I have noticed that even more during my time on the board.

Before joining the board, I often thought that I would not have what it takes to be on the board.  What skills did I have that would help the board?  Surely there were many others that would be more qualified, right? My first job on the board was as Membership Chair.  It was through this position that I was able to host a new member event.  I was worried about how many people were going to come and if the food was good enough.  At the end of the night, what I realized was that most people didn’t care about where we were meeting or how many people came.  What they seemed to care about the most were the connections that they formed with other people.  One person even said that she had relocated from California and was grateful for a chance to connect with other family therapists because she was feeling alone in her private practice after moving across country.

The key ingredient in being successful was right there all along- relationships matter.  This event was a “success” because people had an opportunity to connect and form relationships.  I applied this knowledge to the board as well.  Being a successful board member does not mean that you are aware of all the legislative issues or that you are a great event planner.  It also does not mean that you like to speak in front of others or have the best PR skills.   Successful board members connect with others.  They connect with members, potential members, legislators, colleagues, other board members, and even members from other states.  These relationships help the board make decisions.  These relationships help the board gain awareness about the families we serve.  These relationships help develop trust and a sense of community.

As the snow eventually melts away and spring once again returns, please consider volunteering for the board or running for a position in the next election.  There are no magic skills.  We are not looking for a polished resume.  We are looking for people that care about MAMFT.  We are always hoping to form new relationships and perhaps the next one might be with you!

Megan Oudekerk, PsyD, LMFT, RPT-S, MAMFT President