Get to Know Us – Amber Huett-Garcia
10 Questions with Amber Huett-Garcia, BS, MPA, OAC Board Member
1. How did you become involved with the OAC?
I joined the OAC in 2009 when I was researching organizations after an infuriating news article online (well, the comments of said article). I joined the advisory board shortly after becoming a member and worked on several committees for about a year and a half. The current past chairman, Pam Davis, invited me to apply to the National Board where I have been nearly three years. I’ve served on various committees and I’m currently serving in my third and final year as Chair of the Convention Planning Committee, which will allow both new leadership and time for me to take on some new initiatives (see #5).
2. Have you personally dealt with obesity, and if so, how has it impacted your life?
Yes, I have personally dealt with obesity and it’s a battle I fight each day. I am a five-year post-op gastric banding patient and have lost 180 pounds. My health and quality of life have dramatically improved since treating my obesity. My family, both immediate and extended, also battles the disease and so it’s an ongoing personal struggle to get access to treatment for those I love, such as my father who is dealing with a long list of co-morbidities.
3. What is your favorite part about being a board member of the OAC?
It is such a great privilege to a voice for our membership and individuals everywhere who are affected by obesity. Also, the idealist in me really, really loves and is affirmed by a small group of folks making a huge difference. It actually makes me a happier person to be part of the OAC board. Change fuels me!
4. Why is the OAC valuable in advocating for obesity awareness?
Is there a word limit on this? The Obesity Action Coalition is representing individuals affected with obesity and their interests in an absolutely unparalleled way. The OAC recognizes that it is injustice that we’re battling day to day and they operate with the hope that policy, minds, and perceptions of obesity can and will get better for the lives of people are affected by the disease. It is this dangerous mix of knowledge, compassion, vision, and urgency that makes the OAC a growing force to be reckoned with.
5. What is one goal that you want to accomplish as a board member?
Again, ya’ll don’t know how hard this is for me to keep short and choose ONE. Since the staff knows I’m ambitious – here are a few: 1) The OAC has incredible educational resources that have the potential to reach more of the country’s highest need areas. To this, I’d love for us to recruit a more diverse membership, including persons of color and individuals in low-income communities; populations that are often disproportionately affected by obesity. 2) I want access to obesity treatment to be seen as a RIGHT and NOT a privilege. 3) Finally, I want to see the Your Weight Matters National Convention scholarship program expand access to the incredible education, advocacy, and support that it brings.
6. What is your favorite film?
Christmas Vacation – my family watches it every Christmas Eve. I also really love apocalyptic/destruction movies – even when they aren’t necessarily an Oscar contender.
7. What is your fondest memory from this past year?
In the last 12 months, I’ve had the great fortune to have created many fond memories, including starting a new job with Teach For America, chairing my second Your Weight Matters National Convention, and going on a wonderfully relaxing trip to Mexico. BUT, the highlight of the past year is really no contest – I married the smartest man in Memphis! (Love you, Matt)
8. If you could’ve had any career other than your current one, what would it have been?
I was sitting here tapping my laptop, thinking “maybe an elected official?” I asked my husband the question and he said, “For me or you?” and I responded “For me!” He said “A state senator.”
9. What is your favorite place to vacation?
I’m a sucker for the beach and sun – doesn’t matter where.
10. What is your most prized possession?
I love “things,” but I love people more – gotta say my family and friends. My parents and siblings have always supported and encouraged me. I have a really tight knit group of close friends that I love and trust deeply; including my best friend I met in 3rd grade.
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Join us next time as we feature Lindsay Jones, OAC Marketing Manager!