2015 Election Process


First of all, we want to say that it has been a pleasure to serve the Alliance again this year in our role as the Leadership Development Committee. The LDC mandate includes finding candidates to fill Board of Director vacancies, conducting the annual election, searching out talented, qualified members to fill committee openings, and offering support to the Alliance’s leadership in any way that our experience can be of help. In selecting candidates for the Board, we begin by conducting needs assessment interviews with all sitting Board members so that we can be clear about priorities and best choices to complement the current group. We verify which incumbents are interested in running for re-election to their seats and which are not. A notification email goes out to all members in which we invite them to come forward as candidates, and we conduct group interviews with all applicants, including those Board members interested in re-upping, before deciding on the election slate we want to present to the membership.
election-process 2015

The Board of Directors will bid a fond farewell to Stephanie Beck, who has done an amazing job of taking the Alliance’s website, marketing and social media capabilities to new levels during her time on the Board. One of our challenges this year was to find someone with a similar skill set to put forward to fill the gap left by Stephanie’s departure. We interviewed two candidates and chose Ariel Hubbard, who also has Stephanie’s recommendation for the role.

Some months ago the Board accepted Dawn Saunders’ resignation; the LDC was asked to quickly find someone for this vacancy. Fortunately, we were aware of an excellent candidate, Penny Jeffrey, Ph.D., who has an exceptional background in education and who recently qualified as a massage therapist. Pete appointed Penny to finish out Dawn’s term – now we are recommending that she be elected for a regular 2-year term.

There are also two incumbent candidates, Eric Polgar and Christa Fratantoro, whose terms are completing this year and who wish to stand for re-election. Both have been serving on the Executive Committee, Eric as treasurer and Christa as secretary, and are very highly regarded by their fellow Board members.

LDC Candidates: Our committee has three openings. The two incumbents whose terms are expiring, Tim Herbert and Tracy Walton, are willing to return. Lisa Curran Parenteau resigned earlier this year due to work pressures, and David Lauterstein was appointed to take her place. David is now standing for election for a regular term.

Debra Curties (Chair), David Lauterstein, Joe Lubow, Tim Herbert, Tracy Walton, Christa Fratantoro (Board Liaison)




  Christa Fratantoro – At-Large Seat

As Board Secretary, Executive Committee member and Board Liaison to the LDC, Christa seems to live in the hub of the Alliance wheel. Her communication skills and management experience allow her to play a central role in many of the organization’s functions, facilitating the flow of information to help each piece play its part in the whole. A Senior Acquisitions Editor for F.A. Davis with 19 years in healthcare editorial, Christa understands that educational excellence is vital if massage therapy is to fully deliver on its promise. The LDC endorses Christa’s re-election because she is highly regarded by her Board colleagues who value her insightful, pivotal work as Secretary and EC member – and because we value what she contributes to the LDC as Board Liaison.

Statement from Christa:

For the past two years, I have served on the Board as Executive Committee Secretary and as Board Liaison to the Leadership Development Committee. As Secretary, I have established systems that help the Board function more efficiently and keep better track of information. I have worked with the Executive Committee to focus our meeting agendas on strategic planning, membership outreach, infrastructure and collaborative relationships with other stakeholder groups. The Teacher Competencies are our crown jewel, and could be better marketed to non-member educators and schools. With the LDC, I have helped recruit new committee and Board members with skills in membership and marketing to make these next steps possible. In my next term, I would continue to support the development of our internal structure and advocate for this important organization. I hope you will consider me for this opportunity.



Eric Polgar – representing School Owners/Directors

As Treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee, Eric has brought disciplined thinking and systemic controls to the Alliance’s finances. Using his MBA and
organizational backgrounds, Eric has created and maintained financial systems and policies that translate into more transparent and intentional use of Alliance resources, facilitating longer-range planning. He has also been a valued member of the Executive Committee and one of the “big picture” thinkers on the Board as the organization continues to develop and grow.
Recently promoted to Director of Massage Therapy programs for the University of Western State’s Portland and Salem campuses, Eric has a comprehensive understanding of this field – from classroom to clinic, program administration, and admissions and marketing. The LDC endorses Eric’s re-election to the Board because of his leadership in financial matters, his strong standing with fellow Board members, and his versatile skill set which he actively applies on behalf of the organization.

Statement from Eric:

I have worked in massage education for the last seven years and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of massage education. Prior to my time in the massage field, I worked in social services, mental health and education. During my tenure with the Alliance, I have served as Treasurer and Executive Committee member. As part of the leadership team, I have worked hard to develop financial processes that will support the growth and maturation of the Alliance and help the organization achieve its goals. I am proud to be a member of this dedicated group of professionals and it would be an honor to serve the profession as Treasurer of the Alliance for another term.



Penny Jeffrey – representing Faculty

Although new to the massage therapy profession (a recent graduate of the Body Therapy Institute), Penny has extensive experience teaching post-secondary science and nutrition courses, primarily at North Carolina State U. Engaged in a variety of teacher associations, Penny has a deep passion for effective pedagogy and curriculum development. She is also founding president of a non-profit membership organization – all in all, a perfect fit for current Board needs. Penny started with the Strategic Planning Committee; when Dawn Saunders resigned the LDC suggested that Penny be appointed to fill her position on the Board and as Membership Committee chair. She has done so quite effectively in a short time. We recommend that Penny be elected to continue the productive work she’s been contributing.

Statement from Penny:

I am enthusiastic to serve an organization that champions for the field of massage/bodywork education. In my short time with the Board of Directors they have shown me their passion to create new opportunities to sustain the Alliance’s mission. As Membership Committee chair I have experienced the strong dedication members share for improving the awareness and strength of the Alliance and creating new opportunities for members. Having directed an animal welfare organization for 19 years, I have gleaned an understanding of how talented people want to use their abilities to do good things without extrinsic rewards. As a new practitioner with a master’s degree in nutrition and a doctorate in science education, I’ve been able to merge my many passions, talents, and day-to-day professional experiences to serve the mission of Alliance and interests of its members. It would be a great pleasure and honor to continue in a leadership role.



Ariel Hubbard – At-Large Seat

Ariel Hubbard owned and was the managing director of the California Academy for the Healing Arts for 15 years. In that time she wore every hat there was to wear, so she brings a breadth of experience in the classroom, administration and business. A massage therapist as well as a continuing education provider, Ariel understands that educational excellence is what will drive the profession forward. As an active volunteer with many years of service to the massage community at local, state and national levels, Ariel’s passion for the profession is palpable.
With Stephanie Beck stepping down this year, the LDC was mandated to search for someone with extensive marketing experience and social media capacity. The marketing and computer technical skills Ariel has developed over the years make her an ideal candidate to play this vital role for the Alliance. We recomme

Statement from Ariel:

I am really excited about this opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors by facilitating and enhancing the Alliance’s role as a connection point for stakeholders in the industry. As a former massage school owner and continuing education provider, my experience of working at both ends of the educational spectrum will help support the Alliance’s marketing and outreach goals. Of necessity I had to learn how to market effectively and sought out extra training to enhance my skills. I believe there are many as yet untapped opportunities to engage massage educators and advance our profession. I look forward to playing a role in strengthening the Alliance’s connection to the massage community.



Tracy Walton

I have found it a great honor to serve on the Leadership Development Committee, and be directly involved in staffing committees and the Board of Directors. Over the past few years, increased volunteer involvement in the Alliance has made the organization stronger and more vibrant, capable of moving massage education forward. I have been a massage therapist for 25 years, and worked as a massage school science teacher and administrator for about half of that time. Currently I provide continuing education instruction. This allows me the good fortune of knowing many fine massage therapy educators, and I can appreciate firsthand the educational backgrounds of thousands of massage therapists. My involvement in the LDC has been rewarding. The committee a is collaborative, clear-thinking group, helping to create a sustainable organization that will see us into the future. I would like to continue my work with the LDC and contribute to massage therapy and massage education.



David Lauterstein

After many types of involvement in the “politics” of massage since 1981, in recent years I have been more focused on writing, teaching, and my school. However, new developments in the field and big decisions that are being made related to recommended curriculum, the Model Practice Act, scope of practice, etc. have re-motivated me to become more involved. I have been excited to see the truly helpful and important role played by the Alliance among other organizations. I am honored and enthusiastically interested in helping our profession move in balanced and healthy directions in the future.



Tim Herbert

As a volunteer who believes strongly in the Alliance’s mission, making a positive contribution to the organization is highly rewarding. When the work is done, in collaboration with some of the finest people on the planet, led by a fantastic committee chair (Debra Curties), well, the work is actually delightful. Our task is to staff committees and the Board of Directors, inviting people to bring their talents and passion to the Alliance. I’ve been able to share from my experience (a quarter century as part of the massage therapy vendor community, and 10 years service on the Massage Therapy Foundation Board of Trustees) to help the Alliance become stronger and more effective. The LDC continues to play a vital role in support of this progress. I’d be grateful for the opportunity to continue contributing.


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