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Leadership in Action: Considering the "Why"

By Ginger Breedlove, CNM, PhD, ARNP, FACNM, ACNM President

The Board of Directors convened in Washington, DC this weekend for our fall quarterly meeting. What did we accomplish? Many of us charged the Hill and visited Congressional representatives to discuss a variety of topics: midwives as primary care providers in ACA implementation; establishment of a maternity care shortage designation placing midwives, through the National Health Service Corp, in under-served areas; full access and equitable reimbursement; and co-sponsorship of the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act. My experiences meeting Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Legislative Aide to Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) were meaningful and valuable. My primary message to them emphasized midwives as vital professionals in a diminishing workforce, prepared to care for women nationwide.

Back at the ACNM national office, discussion focused around work guided by our organizational strategic priorities. We have much to accomplish before we reach the end of 2013. The fall board meeting is the first opportunity to submit preliminary measures to determine the operating budget for the next calendar year – a colossal task. ACNM staff and board members will finalize budget requests and submit them to the Finance and Audit Committee for review in mid-October, and final 2014 budget decisions will be approved at the December board meeting. Also this fall, the Our Moment of Truth (OMOT) campaign will roll out more materials focusing on women’s health issues. A robust toolkit for Affiliate and community use, including multiple ready-to-use PowerPoint presentations, resources to garner local media coverage, and community education materials, can already be found at under the “Get Involved” tab. Have you guided your friends, family, and patients to tour the OMOT website lately?

This weekend, I challenged the board and staff to an exercise guided by a TED talk from Simon Sineck, whose work is based on the premise that people don’t buy what you do, but rather they buy why you do it. Sineck promotes demonstrating your reasoning – your passion – “from the inside out” by using phrases that speak to the subconscious feeling part of the brain. This will trigger an emotional response in your audience, which will then influence their decision-making and drive their behavior.

I urged the board and staff, and I urge you, to consider the “why” when describing the value of midwifery. Why do you want women to come to your midwifery practice? Why do you want others to understand that midwifery provides affordable, safe and satisfying care? A “why” statement focused on midwifery value might sound like this: “Midwifery care is grounded in a belief that women are participants in their decision-making, that all women come with life experiences that guide decision-making, and that active listening combined with evidence-based recommendations will help women achieve a safe, optimal, and satisfying experience.” The goal is to frame our communication messages to attract women who believe what we believe.

What is your “why” statement? How might you re-frame your marketing strategy, including OMOT materials, to attract more women – those who want midwifery care because they believe what we believe, because of the reasons we do it? The way we go about our care as midwives serves as proof of what we believe. In order to continue the advance of midwifery in America, we must each find ways to build our individual marketing strategies and share the “why.”

Posted By Barbra Elenbaas | 9/17/2013 2:36:02 PM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


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