By Mckinzie Step
OAC’s Community Outreach Engagement Specialist
I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself.
If you find yourself wondering, “Who is behind the OAC’s new Community and all of the ongoing updates?” Well, it’s an entire team of us here on the OAC Board of Directors and staff. However, I have the distinct privilege of dedicating my role on the OAC staff to growing and nurturing the OAC’s incredible Community on a daily basis. It’s a role that has both humbled and transformed me.
Community is everything to me. I, too, am affected by obesity. I have struggled with weight my entire life – from the hallways of school to the lonely days of college and well into my adult life. “Weight” has always been a scary word for me. I’ve shied away from many conversations that barely even broached the subject. I wonder if it’s because of the internalized weight bias I grew up with and the number of people in my life who made me feel “less than” because of my body size or number on the scale.
When I started my career at the OAC, I worried that the subject matter would hit a little too close to home. Could I work for an organization that talked about weight and health every single day, when this is something I struggled with deeply to my core?
I honestly wasn’t sure, but I began my journey with the OAC anyway. What I found was an influential group of people who understood the experiences of people with obesity and wanted to help with absolutely no judgement or stigma. I immediately found my niche and began investing both my professional and personal life into the work of the OAC.
Throughout the years, I’ve gained confidence and found my voice to talk about my weight and health out loud. Simply being a part of this Community has surrounded me with more tools, resources and support than I ever thought possible. It truly is all about people and meaningful connections.
Fast forward to now, I’ve had the honor of watching my role on the OAC staff grow and transform into “Community Outreach Engagement Specialist.” What does this mean?
I have the honor of getting to know each and every one of you within the OAC Community and making sure you find what you are looking for. I know what it’s like to be surrounded by misinformation and to look for support that feels comfortable and trustworthy. It’s my hope that you’ll find everything you need right here.
It’s taken the OAC months – even years – to get to this wonderful moment in our history where the OAC Community is born. I am lucky to have been a part of the process and watch us work together to create a central space and engaged community of individuals who simply want to do more. Now that the OAC Community is finally LIVE and available, I am thrilled to personally connect with all of you and grow this online and in-person platform to what I truly hope it will be. There’s so much to take advantage of!
What’s my wish for the OAC Community? I want to see you explore, engage and grow. It’s our hope that this Community will help you in your personal life and give you the tools you need to make a difference in the greater world for people with obesity. I want to learn your names, learn your stories and get to know more about each and every one of you.
If you have any questions, concerns or you simply want to introduce yourself, I would love to hear from you directly. Shoot me an email at [email protected] and let’s chat! In the meantime, I invite you to take a look around and start engaging. Don’t be afraid to dive-in and start connecting! That’s what we’re here for.
Looking forward to all that is to come,