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Candidate Maree Foley
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President Elect Candidate

Maree Foley (PhD, MPhil, PG Dip Chi Psych, BSW)



Maree is a New Zealand trained social worker, registered child and adolescent psychotherapist, and organizational science researcher. She has practiced in the field of infant mental health for over twenty-five years in the public and private sector, and civil societies. She is currently employed as a Child, Family and Organisational Consultant, in Geneva, Switzerland and is the Editor-in-Chief of WAIMH Perspectives in Infant Mental Health. She is the Past Chair of the WAIMH Affiliates Council and the Past president of the Infant Mental Health Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (IMHAANZ).


Nomination letter for WAIMH President-Elect position

I would very much like to submit my nomination for President-elect to the Board of Directors of WAIMH.

I am a New Zealand trained social worker and child psychotherapist, who lives in Switzerland. I have been practicing in the field of infant mental health for over twenty-five years in the public and private sector and civil societies. In addition to my infant mental health practice, I have most recently been engaged with research into practice models that guide advocacy efforts concerning infant mental health as a global public health issue. 

I have been actively engaged in the field of infant mental health since the mid 1990’s. I am the past president of the Infant Mental Health Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (IMHAANZ). I have also been a WAIMH Board member since 2010; first in the role of Affiliate Council Representative (2010-2014) and then as Affiliate Council Chair (2014-2018). In addition, in 2014, I became the copy editor of WAIMH Perspectives in Infant Mental Health and most recently the Editor-in-Chief (2019 - current). I am also a consulting editor of the Infant Mental Health Journal.  
These years as a WAIMH member and as a WAIMH board member have deepened my relationships with many colleagues within WAIMH and have enriched my appreciation for and understanding of WAIMH as a growing organization in an increasingly global and complex context. 

In addition to my engagement with infant mental health practice and WAIMH, I am trained in organizational science with a specific interest in governance issues that apply to not-for-profit and non-governmental organisations. Similar to treasured WAIMH colleagues, I am fortunate to have an international network of organizational science colleagues and am a member of the Society for NonProfits.  
The challenges for salience, sustainability, financial solvency, and innovative organizational development are immense for all not-for-profit professional organizations. WAIMH as a not-for profit international professional organization shares these challenges. The current global situation with COVID-19 as a health and economic crisis as well as a threat to global peace and security makes these challenges ever present. The effects of COVID-19 further highlight inequality within and across populations, especially for families with young children. 

This global context impacts upon WAIMH members, their lives, and work, as they journey alongside families with infants and very young children, in their communities. These challenges sit alongside the central aim of WAIMH: to promote the mental wellbeing and healthy development of infants throughout the world, taking into account cultural, regional, and environmental variations, and to generate and disseminate scientific knowledge ( 

WAIMH has been actively engaged with this aim since its beginning supporting the Infant Mental Health Journal, Perspectives in Infant Mental Health, Infant Rights initiative, to name but a few, as well as the prominent WAIMH activity: the biennial international congresses; a huge undertaking for a relatively small and voluntary based organization. Furthermore, the activities and program development within the WAIMH Affiliates, and allied WAIMH organizations is extraordinary. 

Central to these activities is a unique and core feature of WAIMH: WAIMH has always been about relationships, about connection, about people power. A central resource within WAIMH is its members and their commitment to the aims of WAIMH in their local, regional, and international contexts. However, like all growing beings, organizations have life stages and it seems as if WAIMH is at a pivotal life stage. The ever-changing context within which WAIMH exists seems to demand a need for organizational innovative strategies that include, among other things, diversifying funding sources that would in turn increase WAIMH’s capacity to meet its aims on behalf of and with members. How we connect as members, how we connect as an organization and how we keep “bringing science back to babies” (Selma Fraiberg), requires a change in how we operate at a fundamental level. 

If I was to be elected as President-elect, I would build on the existing work, progress, and commitment of the previous presidents and boards, along with the current board with a special interest in: 
  1. Developing a fundraising and revenue seeking portfolio to support WAIMH infant mental health training and capacity-building efforts, online and where possible face-to-face;    
  2. Developing structured online pathways for members to experience being part of a global and local community of practice for infant mental health. For example, providing members with WAIMH funded programmes of online training and capacity building; and  
  3. Strengthening WAIMH’s organisational structures to: a) increase WAIMH’s organisational resilience; b) support WAIMH to keep pace with best practice governance arrangements for not-for-profit organizations; and c) increase its capacity to engage effectively with its membership and with other organizations to further support WAIMH’s membership and mission. 
If appointed to the position of President-elect, I will work closely with the WAIMH Executive and Secretariat and current president, Kai von Klitzing and our president elect, Campbell Paul. 

I thank you for considering my nomination.

Yours sincerely
Maree Foley 
PhD, MPhil, PG Dip Chi Psych, BSW
Child, Family and Organisational Consultant, Geneva, Switzerland.