by Michele  Johanson

Intriguing, charismatic, successful

Thankful for her healing

She shined!

Having been to a few AMTA New England Regional Conferences in the past did not prepare me for the magnitude of the AMTA National Convention. I had already been there, in Milwaukee, for a couple of days and was feeling the immensity of the huge undertaking I was now a part. Thursday was Opening Session in the Milwaukee Theatre. Walking in with a fellow alternate delegate, delegates, and AMTA members abound, I had to pause as I entered. There was a wave of excitement that flooded the auditorium.  The space was not at maximum capacity but it might as well have been! I felt ready to rock out to whatever show I was about to see!

After taking special photo opportunities, I settled into my seat amongst the familiarity, love and support of my CT Chapter members. Right before Opening Session was about to begin, I peered around at the sea of happy faces that surrounded me. I felt at home.

Kicking off National Convention in grand style we were graced with the charismatic Robin Roberts. As Robin was introduced, the audience clamored with even more excitement. I reveled in the high energy, smiling inside and out. Admittedly, I was unfamiliar with the prominent keynote speaker and knew nothing of her success from ESPN to Good Morning America. Despite which, I immediately loved her!

Robin talked about memorable interviews; notably President Obama and learning about his stance on marriage equality ,which elated her. Also on her list was one of her very first interviews working for ESPN with tennis pro, Jimmy Connor.

She conveyed a humbleness around success in her career and thriving through cancer. With her partner, Amber at her side, Robin turned to holistic venues like massage therapy. Her wife was so inspired seeing the healing effects of massage, she decided to become a massage therapist.

Humorously describing their first meeting with the AMTA National Board of Directors, Robin was formal and professional and shook hands with each member while Amber introduced herself with friendly embraces instead. A wave of warm laughter filled the room as she told this. And I could feel it in my heart. This IS who WE are.

Many faces in the crowd were acknowledged including NCBTMB Board Members on the left balcony and to the right: Olympians and representatives from Be the Match, a marrow donor program.

The business meeting was held during opening session. Many topics were discussed. Partnering and community seemed a theme. It was announced that the AMTA will continue to support the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and are teaming with them to ensure board certification remains. Plus, AMTA is working together with the franchise of Massage Envy in an effort to increase self-care and awareness of the massage therapy profession. Good news for students: starting November 1st, all students of AMTA member schools will have an opportunity for free membership. It was announced AMTA will give over $475,000 this year to the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF). AMTA National President Nathan Nordstrom awarded CT’s own past President, Scott Raymond the National Meritorious Award and he acknowledged all the 71,000 AMTA members by awarding them all this year’s the President’s Award.

In closing it was a memorable experience for which I am extremely grateful.