My First 6 months as Nevada Chapter President

by Mavies Gascon, President, AMTA-NV Chapter

Mavies Gascon, LMTAs a member of the AMTA-Nevada Chapter, I decided to stay in for the meeting before the continuing education that I had originally signed up for at the 2015 Annual Nevada Chapter Convention. And during that meeting, David Otto, who was my Professional Development instructor at the Nevada School of Massage Therapy (NSMT), and then, being President of the chapter, nominated me to be a part of the organization.

I donated a lot of volunteering time while I attended NSMT, so I figured I was spending time to help the community, not knowing what I had just agreed upon. And then reality hit, as I placed my right hand over my chest (yes, I was swearing into my position as 2nd Vice-President, 1 year term) – PANIC ATTACK! What have I just gotten
myself into?

I haven’t been Vice-President of an organization since my high school years as a Member of the Student Body Council for various clubs. But as I was sitting in at the Board Meetings held in Kathleen’s beautiful home, conversations became more detailed, business oriented, and sometimes confidential. The majority of the whole year, I listened, observed how business was conducted, and sat retaining information, like a sponge on a wet spill. And last year, I designed the pins that we wore and shared amongst our colleagues at the 2016 AMTA National Convention in Milwaukee.

Going back to June 5, 2016: I thought I was over with the whole volunteering my time to talking with students at NSMT, for the value of having “Visions” and the importance of having liability insurance, with no one else but AMTA. And I thought I was totally done with adding more stress on top of my full time job and not so happening
independent business. David ended his term as President of the chapter. I was next in line and no one else seemed like they wanted to take the responsibility. What do I do?

Do I just neglect the organization that I have spent so much of my valuable time on and compensate my relationships (partner, family, friends, private clients)? Or do I dig a bigger hole and grab the bull by its horns and see how far it’ll abuse me?

I was 36 years old, with only a little over 3 years in being a Licensed Massage Therapist and already a NV Chapter Vice President, for one of the biggest non profit organizations in America. So I stepped up. What’s there to lose? I’m backed up by so many colleagues, not only in Nevada, but Nationally. The support system with the organization is amazing. All anyone has to do is reach out!cat-paw-lick-yarn

It’s now been six months since I’ve pledged into the President position. At first, I was a bit nervous, but with the right guidance, I know the next two years will be memorable. We have already made strides to communicate better with the Northern Nevada members by honoring them with a mini convention (meet & greet with a CE class). And as the holidays pass, more meetings throughout the state are being planned and so are mixers with local retail establishments, member volunteer events, and of course, opportunities for continuing education classes to name a few.

So going back to the thought of the “hole,” I’m diggin’ it! And I’ll continue to dig larger, deeper holes, to fill them with knowledge and memories. And when the day comes, the road will have been patched with success to empower future massage therapists. It doesn’t matter how nervous or uncertain you are, creating change can overcome those fears!

Your Vote Counts! AMTA 2013 National Election

AMTANatl2013Elections-bannerBe among the professional members that shape our association. Vote for our national leaders. AMTA is the premier professional organization and needs top leadership to be a strong voice and guide us to the future. Your vote is needed to ensure that AMTA remains on top and continues to be well represented.

Get to know the candidates. Read each of their biographical sketches. You can find these candidate links, or if they established any Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Blog sites by accessing the AMTA official election website. Don’t be shy, ask them questions or read what someone else asked.  Find out what their vision and goals are for the future of AMTA and the massage profession.

Your voice counts in this organization. Make a decision to support one of our core values, ‘to be a membership driven organization’ and vote. That is what ‘member driven’ means. Join in.  Become a more informed voter and cast your vote by December 1!

2013 Election Timeline

November 1-5: A link to the online ballot will be sent via electronic mail to all voting members.

December 1: Completed ballots are due.

January 1: Results will be announced no later than January 1 on the AMTA website.

March 1: New officers assume office.


Please contact Colleen Leeders, at 877-905-2700 x150 or email hidden; JavaScript is required  if you have questions.

the First 90-days…

Hello Members!

David OttoI am truly honored to be writing today in the President’s Blog – there have been many years that I have served where the chapter did not have such an efficient, fast way for the members to connect; specifically, with the commentary and updates from the chapter President.  I am happy to say: all the Nevada Chapter Board of Directors volunteers, chapter volunteers and Delegates are available via email and that you may post publicly or email me privately regarding the [future] topics in this forum!

Now, on with this month’s blog…

I was elected to serve as a chapter leader, first as 1st Vice President back in 2010, with the intention of running for another leadership office, but not really the presidency.

Billie Shea (who has served several terms as President, now Immediate Past President) had other plans than my “just” participating in a fully-engaging and wonderfully-satisfying position as a volunteer.  She knew that, over my years of service in media outlets, out in the population of the membership and non-members of professionals in the Las Vegas area, being active in my professional goals as well as association goals, I had a little more potential.  And I guess I have to say: I thought so, too.

I suspect, from the get-go, Billie was looking for the right person, a willing person, an established professional and personality in the massage therapist community, and I had worked hard to be in that position, but didn’t realize the gravity of my situation until someone told me I should run for President.

When I joined the AMTA & Nevada chapter back in 2001, during my last weeks of school, I really had no idea that the AMTA would be an opportunity that grew me both professionally and personally – was starting with a solid liability insurance policy, as far as I was concerned.  I had and have a passion for massage therapy, and that passion to do what was right for me, back in the day; and now, my passion has developed into a purpose to do what is right for the profession in Nevada.  I can think of no stronger, prominent, or active group of massage therapy professionals than those who are members of the AMTA – in Nevada and across the U.S.!

I have had, even before I was elected chapter President, more positive & growth experiences in my management skills, massage therapy skills, interpersonal skills, marketing skills, and entrepreneurial drive than I can ever imagine would have happened had it not been for the tried, true, and structured resource of the humans that make up the AMTA.  From the National office to the newest Student Member, I count on every person who professes to support and practice massage therapy in its truest form to contribute to the success of the organization. And, as in a recent interview that I participated in for the national promotion of the AMTA, “I am David Otto.  I am AMTA.”

And so is every member.

If you believe in supporting massage therapy research, the development of the field and profession, and providing massage therapy clients with the “best massage ever,” you have found a friend, mentor, and inspiration in the AMTA.  Times can be turbulent and hard to comprehend, but by keeping the Mission in mind and participating, everyone comes out ahead.

Thank you for trusting me as one of the many talented leaders of the Nevada Chapter that you will come across.  I encourage you to get to know one other member this year.  By the end of 2012, we are organizing a couple of member events coming up in Southern Nevada and there are several continuing education courses in Northern Nevada where you will likely meet a fellow AMTA member – but if not, recognize the “member” in the professional with whom you are talking.

There will be more updates about things YOU and/or your colleagues find interesting and may want to participate in as an Attendee.  If you have any ideas, questions, or comments about your membership or participating in affecting an awesome membership of professionals in Nevada, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Yours in Service,

Keep in touch on Facebook & LinkedIn

2012 National Elections – Candidacy

Have you considered participating with fellow members at the National level? You can choose to run for an elected office for the National Board of Directors or Commission on Candidacy. Serving at the national level is a great way to meet some wonderful, dedicated people in the profession.

Members may find criteria for Board or Commission on Candidacy positions by visiting our National Elections website.  You may also be interested in knowing that some elected positions involve less of a time commitment than other positions.

This year, a member may request a candidate application packet beginning July 1st, and must complete the application process by September 1st.  The process includes completing three online courses: About Non-Profit Associations, Responsibilities and Communications throughout AMTA and Risk Management for Association.

Once the courses are completed, the member will have access to the online application bio. After the Commission on Candidacy has reviewed the application and determined that the candidate meets the requirements of the position he or she is seeking, the candidate’s profile will be posted live on AMTA’s official election website, and your choice of using social media as a candidate can begin.

If you are interested in serving, please contact the Commission on Candidacy via Gail Friedman, AMTA staff liaison to the Commission on Candidacy.

The Commission on Candidacy and Commissioner of Elections welcomes your questions, comments, and ideas.


Chris Rider, Chair, Commissioner of Elections

Barb Lis, Chair, Commission on Candidacy

2012 COC Commissioners: Christopher Deery, Shari Mirgon, Lori Keith, Mary Donker-Syvertsen, and Julie Finn

Marketing Strategies – Some Options & Some Considerations

Last time we talked about ways to market yourself and improve business.  This time, I want to spend a few lines discussing coupons, Groupons, and marketing strategies.
Everyone is looking for a bargain nowadays.  We all shop at Walmart, or Costco, or we clip coupons to save money.  Have you thought how those companies make so much money?  The answer is very simple:  It is called “volume.”
That’s it: volume.  If, during your week, you perform an average of 20 massages at $70 each, your gross income for that week, before expenses, is $1,400.  Obviously, if you want to make more money, you have to do one of two things: get more clients or charge more money.
First, more money.  You raise your price to $100. Your gross income for the week goes to $2,000.  But wait: we already established that people are looking for a bargain.  If, by raising your price, you are discouraging people from making repeat appointments and you lose some of your clients, your profit goes down.
So, now: we need to get more clients.  We have established that people are looking for a bargain so we offer a coupon or Groupon.  Let us say, for the sake of argument, that we offer 25% off our regular fee of $70.   Great: more clients.  At the lower price we need to see 27 people to make our $1,400 a week.  So let’s bump the number to 38 people to make the $2,000 at the lower price.
As you can see, numbers can be a little scary in our world.  In order to make more money we need more volume, but when you can only touch one body at a time, that volume takes a personal toll on you.  The greater the coupon value, the higher the toll.
I am not saying that we should all raise our prices and never give discounts.  What I am saying is that you need to carefully balance between the discount and the amount of people you can draw in with the coupon.  If your goal is to introduce new people to your service, a coupon is fine.  But, if the idea is that you will consistently accept coupons and give discounts for your services, you may be setting your price to a new low that you cannot go back to your regular pricing.  Typically coupons are a good thing in moderation, but as the old saying goes “too much of a good thing can be bad.”
Think about your overall income needs and set your prices accordingly.  Then you decide if you can afford to offer discounts or to accept Groupons, or other marketing tools.  As with any kind of contract, read the fine print.  Groupons sound great when you are the purchaser, but  not so great after you have signed the contract to accept these in your practice.
Be well and prosperous everyone.

Keeping A Sense Of Wonder

As I sit and ponder all things that bring wonder to life, it occurs to me that when tasks and duties are more controlled, our time is freed up to do the things in life that bring that sense of wonder.  I have met those people who always seem to have time to take a walk on the beach, spend time with family, or even just sit and be still, and, yet, they seem to juggle multiple duties and manage busy work schedules.  And yet so many of us are stressed to the max, with little or no time for those important things in life.

So it begs the question, “What am I doing wrong?”, or, even better: “Those people can’t compare to the level of stress in my life…”  Is this really true?  Is there a class of beautiful people who always seem to wake up with their hair in place and makeup perfect?  Do some people seem to have charmed lives?  All valid questions, and, yes, I am convinced that some people do seem to live charmed lives.  They have their act together and always seem to have a lucky charm or an angel providing all the right opportunities.  But I also believe that you, too, can make those opportunities and have the ability to lead a charmed life.  There is nothing stopping you (yes, You) from leading a charmed life.

These opportunities present themselves in a multitude of ways.  On a daily basis, Lady Luck smiles on each one of us in a myriad of different ways.  The only difference, or controlling factor, is what you choose to do with the opportunities that present themselves to you.  As an example: you know you need $300 dollars to renew your automobile registration in 3 months.  You generally get $10 dollars a day in tips that you use to purchase that tasty latte with your lunch.  Every day you spend 3 to 5 dollars on the latte even though you know you do not have the money for the registration; you console yourself with the fact that something will happen to provide you with the $300 in the nick of time.  Finally, the day comes and passes when your registration is due, now you are late and the cost spirals from 300 dollars to an additional fine for being late.  You console yourself for your bad luck by having another latte…

No, I am not just talking about YOU.  But, after spending much of my own life in this state of bliss, enjoying those lattes, I speak from the voice of experience.  I know full well what my obligations are going to be for the foreseeable future but still I sip my beverage.  So, herewith and following are some things I have learned from a lifetime of experience and missteps.

A young monk approached his master.  He observed the master holding some money in his hands.  The master was smoothing each bill and stacking the bills in a way that implied a reverence for money.  The young monk asked “Master, you have taught me that money is not something we should worship, but you seem to be treating this money as though it is special.” The monk replied “No, young student – I am not worshiping this money.  I freely send it out into the world where it can do the most good.  I was just telling this money to fly into the world and do the most good for all peoples, and then I asked it to come back soon.”

Sometimes the work you do marketing your business or promoting yourself seems to be a waste of time.  When you invest your energy into your goals, that energy does come back to you in multiple ways.  Yes, I know none of us are any good at marketing, but I am here to tell you that unless you do something to make yourself stand out, other people will and they will be the ones collecting your dollars.

Marketing is simply a matter of being cordial to people.  You already have a circle of friends and family that you are comfortable with.  I suggest that you start your marketing with these people and slowly expand the circle to include acquaintances and distant relatives and finally take the plunge and strike up a conversation with someone you do not know or someone that you think is above you.  You will be surprised at how approachable people can be when you open up to them.  Try it….

Billie Shea, Chapter President

AMTA National Officer Elections – Your Vote Counts!

Be among the professional members that shape our association. Vote for our national leaders. AMTA is the premier professional organization and needs top leadership to be a strong voice and guide us to the future. Your vote is needed to ensure that the organization, remains on top and continues to be well represented.

Get to know the candidates by linking up with them on facebook, linked-in or twitter. Ask them questions or read what someone else asked. Find out what their vision and goals are for the future of AMTA and the massage profession.  If the candidate established any social media sites, you can access the information at the bottom of each candidate’s bio information page found on the AMTA official election website

Your voice counts in this organization. Make a decision to support one of our core values, ‘to be a membership driven organization’ and vote. That is what ‘member driven’ means. Join in, become a more informed voter and cast your vote by December 1.

2011 Election Timeline

November 1-5: A link to the online ballot will be sent via electronic mail to all voting members.

December 1: Completed ballots are due.

January 1: Results will be announced no later than January 1 on the AMTA website.

March 1: New officers assume office.


Please contact Gail Friedman at 877-905-2700 x168 or email hidden; JavaScript is required if you have questions.