YWM2014 – The Interviews Part 5

This is Part 5, and as it turns out the final group of interviews. There are a lot of folks in this one, it’s a bit longer than the rest, but it was either that or make two that were much smaller. So… yea. Lots of great chats with attendees, a few vendors and a number of OAC staff to take a listen to.

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My first victim.. I mean interviewee for this session is James Zervios. James is the Director of Communications for the OAC, he helped put together the Advocacy for Beginners Training that was new for this year, and is an all around nice guy.

At this point, it’s late in the day on Saturday and the conference is officially over. As the vendors were packing up I stopped to chat with Wendy and Sandi of WLS Success Matters.

David is a certified culinary chef and bariatric post-op, and I bumped in to him before the big awards dinner on Saturday night. David was oneo of the many local attendees that came out this year.

After the evening festivities I managed to corner A Post-Op and a Doc – Cari De Le Cruz and Connie Stapleton.

Charity and Crystal were a couple of the participants in the Thursday advocacy training and shared a bit about what they took away from this weekend. One of the things Crystal shared, that was echoed by so many, was how engaging the speakers were with the participants between sessions.

After that I had a bit of a chat with Beth (aka Melting Mama), Wendy and Cherie. “Come for the support, leave with the science.”

Jennifer  has been to all three Your Weight Matters conventions and the support is one of the key reasons she keeps coming back.

Sunday morning I finally managed to corner Nanette, who had been avoiding me all weekend… and you can seem to tell it is early Sunday after a loooong, and eventful weekend because I sound like I am still waking up.

Mary and Patty both spoke about how speaking up, being an advocate for themselves and others is something they’re taking home from this weekend’s event.

Then I spoke with Sarah Bramblette… again. Ok, my memory isn’t that great… but it’s fitting that I spoke to Sarah as my first interview, but then chatted with her again this morning after she had been named OAC Member of the Year  the previous evening.

Deb is a bariatric post-op that came for things she’s going to be bringing back to her support group back home… and then spoke with Bob as well.

Shana is another of those I had to “corner”, but she had some great thoughts to share about the help things she learned this weekend will help her with some recent personal challenges and since she’s from TX is already rallying folks to attend next year.

Merrill Littleberry, aka “Vitamin M“, ran a number of the exercise sessions for the event and was the winner of the OAC’s Healthcare Provider of the Year award.

As we were moving between stations during the Virtual March to DC I chatted with Clarice, Kathy, Laurie and Kathleen….and at this point we discovered we surpassed our goal of getting enough steps to reach DC and went right on to Boston, the location of the first YWM Local event coming up in November!

Then I *finally* got a chance to chat with Kristy Kuna, Director of Programs for the OAC. She also talked more about the YWM Local Boston event coming up November 2, 2014.

Linda is next.. I got the chance to walk with her during one of the morning walks in Phoenix, and had known her from previous events… she brought her grandson with her this weekend to make a bit of a vacation of things and shared her thoughts on this weekend.

Then last, but not least; Eileen is another staff member with the OAC, specifically the Outreach Coordinator. She spoke to the motivation she gets from those around her during these events, and just getting to meet so many of the members.

 

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