AMT Chairperson Autumn 2021 Message

By Michelle McKerron

At this moment in time, I feel a happy sense of busy. Partly for me it is the reality that I work much more efficiently when I am not battling the heat of summer. I know in Sydney it wasn’t even considered that hot with La Nina doing her thing, but as the calendar flipped to March, I could feel the seasonal change in my bones and just like that, I’m ready for action.

As massage therapists, most of us have had some amount of time out or disruption to practice as the events of the last 18 months have applied different pressures to our workforce. So, it’s also having experienced this weird period of time that I find myself grateful to be in a position of getting into work – seeing clients and settling into the new normal of COVIDSafe living (with mask, hand sani and check-in app at the ready!).

Excitingly, and in addition to fair weather and job prospects mentioned, I have the privilege of participating in the ongoing ‘busy’ vibe as the AMT Executive hit the ground running to start the year. It’s time to get down to business.

I know I regularly comment on how AMT has got your back, how we are committed to our Vision, Mission and Values statements and how you can be assured of the Board’s wholehearted focus on pursuing the positive momentum of the Association. This sounds good on paper, but what does all this mean in practice? Is anything actually happening?

Well, yes!

To start the year, before January was even over, the AMT Strategic Planning Committee met for a brainstorming and tactical planning session. The vibe being that it was time to get out of the shadow of COVID-19 and back on the front foot with what our members need next.

When this committee meets, there is some reflection of where we’ve been (or what we made it through in the case of 2020!), where we are headed, and how that is going to look. The focus is on our members – what can we do to educate, care for and engage our members in, for the betterment of the industry.

We felt confidently able to summarise that our decisions through the mind-blowing COVID-19 situation were in line with our strategic plan – we stayed engaged with the membership, government bodies, and, through our members, also the public. It was tough, and I thank the Head Office staff once again for manning the phones and emails and social media pages to provide support through that hard period. COVID-19 was not where we wanted to spend our energy, but in the thick of it (and with the benefit of hindsight), we believed it was immensely important to take the pause and help everyone through the situation as best we could.

One of the specifics that came up as we looked back over the past year was our genuine gratefulness to you, the membership, for playing the long game. So many of you in practices around Australia led by example as to how to make sure your clinic space was as COVIDSafe as possible. To the point of offering your knowledge and resources to other therapists and clients, and even shutting practices (in some cases over and over) to avoid becoming a vector of the disease. It has been a proud moment to see therapists digesting the research and sifting through other information, understanding the implications, and making the hard calls.

I doubt we’ll ever forget that awful moment when we realised that a lot of Australians don’t use our accepted terminology of ‘practices or clinics’ and instead use the term massage parlour – members took it on the chin for the team though, at the same time making it known far and wide that this would need to be addressed at a future date. Stay tuned for more advocacy in this area.

During our strategic planning meeting, we also covered topics such as networking ideas, the need for an AMT face-to-face event, risk assessment document, HICAPS, encouraging massage therapists who provide treatments to Australians without private health insurance, webinar ideas, other communication ideas, the mentoring program as well as, of course, insight into the biggest topic of conversation at the moment – vaccination.

If you keep a regular eye on your inbox, you will know that some of the points have so efficiently already been dealt with. I would particularly like to thank the Biosecurity Committee for continuing to provide updated information to us over these first few months of the year.

The AMT Board also met recently, and although the subjects covered were perhaps a little less exciting than at the Strategic or Biosecurity meetings, we were certainly pleased to review strong membership numbers and discuss AMT’s current sub-committee structures, as well as start to conceptualise the how, what, when and where of the upcoming AGM and (later in the year) AMT Annual Conference.

As I said, it’s busy! And quite frankly we love it that way.

I encourage you to stay engaged with materials sent out from Head Office, as well as getting excited with the many new and easy to access Professional Development opportunities. Or meet up with another local therapist for a coffee and a chat (or perhaps a long overdue treatment!). I look forward to continuing through this new year quietly focused – and staying busy.

About the Author

Michelle McKerron is currently representing AMT members in the role of Chairperson of the Board of Directors. It’s a role she takes seriously because, as a Massage Therapist herself, she knows what it’s like to be working in the industry and wants to encourage members to continue the tradition that AMT holds in standing up for excellent massage therapy in Australia. Michelle is not even sure what busy even is in this world where we are constantly switched on.

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