Dear MAWS Community,
We write to you with humbled hearts as the last few years have been extremely challenging for all of us in one way or another. Please take the time to read this letter in its entirety, as we feel it to be one of the most significant communications from the Midwives Association of Washington State’s history to date.
The Midwives’ Association of Washington State was formed in 1983. Since then the organization has made unprecedented progress in expanding the number of midwives in the state, the number of clients served, and our scope of practice. Until this year, with the hiring of our new Executive Director, MAWS has been an entirely volunteer-run organization. Every MAWS board member since 1983 has been a midwife, midwifery consumer, supporter or midwifery student.
MAWS was the first state midwifery organization in the country to:
The Board is justifiably proud that MAWS stands today as a leader for midwifery organizations nationally. MAWS is, without question, the longest lived, most influential and most accomplished community midwifery organization in the United States, bar none. ALL of this has been accomplished by your peers working on your behalf without compensation because, like you, they love our shared profession, our colleagues, and the families to whom we provide care.
With that said, it’s clear that over the years MAWS has also made some significant missteps as we have always been a majority white, straight, cisgender, western Washington board. We recognize that as an organization we have historically:
In recent years MAWS has faced consistent criticism from within the midwifery community for being exclusionary and dismissive to the concerns of its members and those outside the membership. We have heard these criticisms and have worked to address them to the best of our ability. Some of these measures include:
We also acknowledge that as another majority white, straight, cisgender, western Washington board, we may not be the right group of people to lead the organization moving forward.
In order to offer the greater MAWS membership the opportunity to completely reconfigure the composition of MAWS leadership, as a board, we have come to the decision to collectively resign our board positions effective December 31st, 2022.
Our intent with this move is to leave all board positions, including all officer positions, vacant for a new generation of midwives who want to assume MAWS leadership and move the organization forward.
To this end, in August a new nomination cycle for MAWS board leadership will open and the MAWS membership will have the opportunity to nominate and vote on a completely new slate of leaders.
A few current Board members are willing to stay on as an advisory committee if desired by the new board. If not desired, we will pass on our current knowledge, and step away completely.
If you are interested in a position on the MAWS board, please email firstname.lastname@example.org stating your intention to join the board and if you desire to be an officer by (date).
Vy Mai, our executive director, will gather the interested parties together for a discussion in September and we will begin the work of handing over the necessary information to the new members. Our intention is to have the new board in place and functional by January 2023.
What does being on the Board entail?
The new board will be free to edit this as they see fit but currently board members are expected to:
The current MAWS Board is grateful for the opportunity to have served the midwifery community of Washington and is hopeful that this step will result in an influx of new people and ideas into the organization. We remain committed to the MAWS Mission, Vision and Values and look forward to what the community has in store for all of us.
An email requesting nominations will be forthcoming.
Jen Segadelli, JD, MSM, CPM - President
Jessica Swan, MSM, LM - Vice President
Kristin Eggleston, LM, CPM - Treasurer
Louisa Severn, LM, CPM
Sunita Iyer, ND, LM
Melanie Dickson, LM, CPM
Emily Jones, MSM, LM, CPM
Natalie Jolly, PhD