Update from Organizational Development

I am Sarah Foster, Director of Organizational Development for MANA. I am a CPM licensed in Texas, and soon to be licensed in Oklahoma where I run a birth center and have a moderately large practice. My passion for midwifery and women’s health is largely focused in the areas of public health and policy, and that passion spurred me to complete a master’s degree in Maternal Child Health Systems from Bastyr University. Now, Director of Organizational Development, I am charged with helping to discern the direction in which the MANA organization should grow. 

Over the past several years I have served as a registrar for the annual MANA conference, and in that capacity have been able to watch the internal goings-on in MANA as somewhat of an “inside outsider.” Through this lens I have borne witness to MANA’s struggle with what can be politely described as growing pains (admittedly, they could also be less politely described). These pains are distressing, but like labor, they are pains with purpose. Likewise, they are inevitable when bringing forth new beginnings. Having observed, and endured, a number of labors, I certainly understand how frustration and hopelessness can cause us to want to give up, but I believe that MANA is too valuable to us to be abandoned. MANA is uniquely positioned to act as a round table for all midwives and midwifery supporters. It is a serviceable vessel, big enough to hold us all, though it is sorely in need of update and repair in its older age.

I have heard the calls to change MANA fundamentally, and even radically, and I agree that there is a need for change. In fact, I am here to unapologetically facilitate it, and there is a plan. Next year, there will be a regular election for board members, and in preparation for that election we are hosting a year-long leadership development program so that those with interest can learn more about the realities and requirements for serving as a board member. 

If you are interested in learning more or want to join, tap here for inclusion in the program. Remember, we can’t hold an election without candidates! Don’t be afraid to announce your willingness to lead in our community through self-nomination, or to encourage leaders you respect to accept your nomination. Then, get your crew to join. MANA is a MEMBERSHIP organization, and members will be the ones selecting the new board, and the new direction. 

Frankly, I only agreed to take this position because no one else was doing it, and while I solemnly promise to do my sincere best for as long as I am needed, I would be very happy to relinquish my seat at the table. Basically, I am inviting – no, begging – you to take our positions and make MANA the organization you wish it were.

I know at times it can seem like we are fundamentally incompatible with each other, and right now is especially tense for midwives, and indeed the nation. However, I truly believe we are better off together. Taking action towards unity in diversity is a necessary step we must take for MANA, and the midwifery community as a whole.


Sarah Foster

Commenting is only accessible to logged in Members in good standing.
If you would like to be a part of the conversation, please log in!