When you gather passionate people around a shared purpose it becomes a testament to one of the core principles of the model of distributed leadership: together we are all smarter than any one of us alone. Although the full NACPM Leadership Team–Board, staff, and consultants–meet virtually via Zoom every month and our project teams are in contact on an even more regular basis, there’s a particular synergy that happens in our semi-annual in-face meetings. As Frederic Laloux writes in Reinventing Organizations, “When the individual and organizational purpose enter into resonance and reinforce each other, extraordinary things can happen…we often feel overcome with grace. It feels like we have grown wings. Working from our strengths, everything feels effortless and we feel productive like rarely before.”
Here are some of the highlights of our Spring 2017 Leadership Team meeting:
- We spent time revising the NACPM Purpose Statement to encompass and reflect our broader, more inclusive goals, and our current working draft is: “NACPM’s purpose is to do our part to ensure a healthy start for all childbearing people and their babies. NACPM supports CPMs in their practice of the art and science of community-based midwifery, influences health policy to widen access to compassionate, physiologic care, and partners with stakeholders to eliminate birth outcome disparities for families in the United States.”
- Team leads for each of our projects and focus areas reported on the work their teams have been doing and we celebrated progress on several fronts: a dramatic increase in the number of members; planning for the 2018 CPM Symposium; status of our fundraising efforts; the launch of the NACPM legislative toolkit and response from the states; the gathering of information and input from MEAC-accredited programs necessary to advance our efforts to develop a scholarship and mentorship program for student midwives of color.
- We also reviewed the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve been receiving about our professional development webinars and noted that participation is robust, with over 600 participants in 13 webinars since September 2016. We are proud that the webinars are providing a valuable resource to our professional community as evidenced by the number of CEUs that have been granted over the past eight months, including a number that qualify for the Midwifery Bridge Certificate. We discussed how to continue to ensure that the recorded webinars remain archived and easily available on the NACPM website.
- We celebrated the launch of several new NACPM state chapters. We discussed how best to support these chapters, how to fully engage their members, how to improve connectivity and continue to build communication and collaboration between the chapters through the quarterly calls, and how to continue to expand this dynamic network.
- We participated in a lively team activity/discussion, based on the StrengthsFinder assessment tool and facilitated by Dr. Brian Perkins, to identify our core values and our individual and collective strengths. We are committed to developing our leadership skills and anticipate that this StrengthsFinder exercise will add significant value to both our individual work and our work as a team going forward.
- Lisa Kane Low, ACNM President, joined us for an hour and 1/2 and we shared information about priorities, current initiatives, and some of the challenges faced by both of our organizations.
- We hosted a dinner and conversation with leaders from the D.C. birth community and learned about the inspiring work they’re doing to provide access to high-quality care in historically underserved communities.
- We laid the foundation for an exciting new partnership in our work to build a more representative midwifery workforce and promote equity in maternity care outcomes–look for details about this emerging partnership in upcoming newsletters.
- Our communication team unveiled a comprehensive set of NACPM briefing papers and recommendations, to be released in May 2017, which describe NACPM’s vision and the emerging landscape and future directions for CPMs. Watch for the release and distribution of these papers over the next few weeks.
- We welcomed Camille Sealy, M.Ed, MPH to the NACPM Leadership Team! Camille joined NACPM in the winter of 2017 as our second Public Member of the Board. She currently serves as a Senior Advisor in the Office of Legislation at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) where she provides strategic direction and leads legislative efforts for the agency around various issues including health workforce, maternal and child health, and primary care. Previously Camille served as a health Legislative Aide to congressional members in both chambers. During her time on Capitol Hill, she drafted provisions within the health reform law pertaining to maternal and child health, prevention and wellness and disparities. Camille presented at the 2012 CPM Symposium with a talk entitled: Maternal Mortality in the U.S.: Taking Action to Eliminate Disparities in Maternal Health Outcomes. In her free time, Camille runs, gardens, and volunteers at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. Prior to our D.C. meeting, Camille made it possible for several members of the NACPM leadership team to visit the museum. We’re so grateful for that opportunity and are thrilled that Camille has joined us!
- In our ongoing effort to become a truly multicultural, anti-racist organization, we challenged ourselves to sit in discomfort, to stay in “the confusion room,” knowing that new and important insights and authentic ways of engaging will emerge from the work that happens in that somewhat chaotic and not always comfortable place. With the help of our skilled and compassionate facilitators, Shirley MacAlpine and Cari Caldwell, we explored the difference between comfort and safety, between intent and impact. We confronted the impact of our words and our actions and held ourselves and one another accountable. We also recognized the importance of apology and doing the necessary work of repair.
- Throughout our time together, we deepened our understanding and practice of distributed leadership model and honed our skills as members of an emerging Teal organization. To learn more about the core elements of Teal organizations (self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose), check out the book Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux; or go to the website
NACPM strives to continually engage CPMs and stakeholders in envisioning and implementing the role that CPMs can and must play in improving the health, and even saving lives, of childbearing people and their babies in our country. As described above, we do this through our chapters, our professional development webinars, our ‘home visits’ with state midwifery leaders, our outreach to other professional organizations, and we look forward to the opportunity to plan together for the profession with our members and stakeholders at the 2018 CPM Symposium. NACPM strives be a resource for up-do-date information on practice, regulation and health policy impacting midwifery. Watch for information coming soon about the 2018 CPM Symposium and emerging partnerships. Visit the NACPM webpage regularly, sign up for newsletters and other announcements, follow NACPM on Facebook, participate in free webinars, and reach out to NACPM staff for assistance. Join NACPM and your NACPM State Chapter as a CPM, student, or associate member. We look forward to our continued work with you throughout 2017 and beyond.
With all best wishes,
Tanya Khemet, CPM, MPH and Audrey Levine, CPM (Ret)