Can you give me a quick bio about yourself? Some personal tidbits?
“Sure! I’m Heather Snaman Frech, wife to Ben and mother to our 4.5 year old daughter, Catie. I’m an on-again, off-again student with most of my professional experience in business management and sales. My spare time has been dominated with all-things-babywearing for a number of years now, but I also enjoy traveling, geeky television, good food, jewelry creation, and music.”
Do you have a strategy to help balance your home life and volunteering to the organization?
“I am extraordinarily lucky to have a lot of help from local family. My daughter has a great relationship with my in-laws, who spend time with her several days per week. This frees me up to dedicate time to volunteering, and allows me to better focus on family when we are all together. It can still be hard during some of our busier times, but my husband is supportive and I believe in showing my daughter the importance of volunteering for a cause that you believe in.”
How did you become involved with BWI? What made you want to become an educator?
“The local group, then called Austin Babywearers, had been around for years; I believe we were founded sometime around 2002. Shortly before I started attending meetings all of the senior leaders had basically aged out, and the remaining volunteer was in over her head and burning out. I offered to help, and when my long-term goals proved to be a little bigger than the other leader’s she graciously stepped aside and allowed me to run with my plans. We saw a moderate amount of success as Austin Area Babywearers, but it was only after we became affiliated with BWI in 2010 that we really started to flourish.
“I became an educator because I feel compelled to share the power of babywearing with anybody that will listen! I consider the benefits to the caregiver to be just as important as the benefits to baby. As a new mom I was overwhelmed and, looking back, probably suffering from mild postpartum depression. Learning to wear my daughter was truly a turning point for me, and I want to share that confidence and connection. I also want to work towards breaking the perception that babywearing is only for those that parent in a certain way, or for only a certain type of person. Babywearing is a powerful tool that can be used by nearly anybody.”
How would you describe your responsibilities as president?
“I am thrilled to be working with a fantastic team of strong, capable leaders. As President of the Board of Directors it is my responsibility to make sure that those around me have the tools that they need to be successful. It is my duty to integrate each of our best ideas into a cohesive strategic plan that aligns with the mission and vision of the organization at large.”
What goals do you have for BWI?
“Big picture? I want people to associate Babywearing International with welcoming, high-quality babywearing education and support. I want to increase the professionalism of our chapters and create outstanding continuing education resources for our educators. I also want to focus on having more collaboration between the Board of Directors and our chapters and volunteers.
“Looking more into the specifics of how I’d like to accomplish those big picture goals, I want to increase communication between the chapters and the Board of Directors, most notably by introducing a comment period for chapters to provide input on upcoming policy changes. I want to rethink the way that the Board of Directors delivers information to chapters, so that our policies are easy to find and so that chapters are better able to share information amongst themselves.
“I also want to better distribute the workload both within the Board of Directors and within chapters. For the Board of Directors this involves continuing with President Emeritus Steffany Kerr’s vision of moving towards a governance board with action committees entrusted with the power to make decisions in their area of expertise. This will allow our Board to better focus on strategic planning, and will provide many opportunities for new people to get involved.
“For chapters, I want to focus on creating shared resources that deal with some of chapter’s most pressing issues: member management, lending library software, navigating insurance and liability concerns, and state laws. I also want to find ways to recognize and encourage the hard work of non-educator volunteers, because they can be a real game changer!
“I cannot wait to see what becomes of our new Research Committee’s research and journal, and I want to make sure that they have the tools necessary to be successful. I am also thrilled that we now have a board member dedicated to international expansion, so we will finally be able to proclaim that we are truly an international organization!”
Do you have any advice for educators? Especially those who might be interested in holding a position on the board of directors or wanting to further their accreditation.
“There are so many ways to get involved on a national level now, so find an area that you are passionate about and jump right in! We have a number of action committees already, and more are in the pipeline. These are a great way to get involved. We also have an outstanding mentoring program, which is the perfect way to either share your own experiences or learn from the experience of someone that has been around the block a few times. If you’d like to become involved but aren’t sure exactly where you fit then reach out and let us know about your skills and experience. There are so many ways to get involved.”